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Housing Benefit

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the level of (a) fraud by and (b) overpayments to landlords in respect of housing benefit in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what action his Department is taking to reduce such fraud and overpayments. [102732]

The information is not available in the format requested. The 1997–98 National Housing Benefit Accuracy Review estimated that the landlord fraud which could be established by the review cost £30 million. We are now running an ongoing Housing Benefit Review which will provide new estimates for landlord fraud.Later this year, as part of our reforms to improve the administration of housing benefit, standard rate housing allowance will start to be piloted in 10 pathfinder offices. Paying the allowance direct to claimants will eliminate some opportunities for fraud by landlords. A detailed evaluation will take place once the pathfinders are complete.