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Housing Benefit Fraud

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement about the level of Housing Benefit fraud. [117303]

We have set a challenging target to reduce fraud and error in Housing Benefit for working age people. We are working with local authorities to achieve a 25 per cent. reduction in March 2006.We are already using a wide range of initiatives to tackle Housing Benefit fraud. Since January 2003 the Department has funded Departmental solicitors to take forward prosecutions on behalf of local authorities. Our joint effort with local authorities is paying dividends—local authority prosecutions and sanctions for benefit fraud have more than doubled in the last two years.

In addition, 81 per cent. of local authorities have now signed up to our Verification Framework, which stops fraud getting into the system in the first place. Additional funding has been made available from April, resulting in an across-the-board 50 per cent. increase for local authorities already compliant with the scheme or considering taking it up.

For the first time we are undertaking an ongoing review of fraud and error in Housing Benefit and first results will be available later this year.

Fraud Information by Sector system