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Disability Living Allowance

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 27 January 2003, Ref. 93561, what plans he has to conduct a further assessment of the level of fraud in relation to disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement on the reasons why no such assessment has been conducted since February 1997. [95040]

We announced on 3 March, at the Public Accounts Committee hearing on tackling benefit fraud that the Department is intending to run a further benefit review to provide an up-to-date picture of the level of fraud and error in disability living allowance.As the approach will be different from that used in 1996, we are planning to run a small pilot during May and June this year. Although the pilot results will not be published, the exercise will enable us to test out the most appropriate methodology prior to running the main review next year.Measurement of fraud and error is complex and expensive and so we have concentrated our measurement efforts on Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance and Ho using Benefit, which we estimate account for around two-thirds of all losses through fraud and error. However, we keep the need for further measurement of other benefits under review.

We believe that we should concentrate our resources on prevention and detection of fraud and error rather than just measuring it and latest results show that our efforts are being successful. Between 1997–78 and 2001–02, we had reduced fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance by 24 per cent. more than double our target of a 10 per cent. reduction.