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Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there is any reward mechanism for people whose calls to the benefit fraud hotline result in successful prosecution. (124734)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many user visits the benefit theft website received in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. (124735)

The DWP initiative targeting benefit fraud was re-launched as targeting benefit thieves in November 2006. On the site at www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves people can anonymously report someone they suspect of committing benefit theft.

The information is in the following table.

Number of visits to the targeting benefit fraud and targeting benefit thieves websites

Targeting benefit fraud

Visits

Unique visitors

February 2006

71,739

18,219

March 2006

80,495

21,495

April 2006

57,562

16,009

May 2006

62,886

17,552

June 2006

54,367

15,596

July 2006

56,061

17,252

August 2006

56,865

17,834

September 2006

55,001

17,468

October 2006

49,487

16,173

Targeting benefit thieves

November 2006

184,133

19,972

December 2006

101,424

13,739

January 2007

153,663

22,982

Notes: 1. Visits - Number of times a visitor or visitors came to the site. Each visit is recorded separately for every visit more than thirty minutes apart. 2. Unique Visitors - Individuals who visited the site during the report period. If someone visits more than once, they are counted only the first time they visit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether calls to the benefit fraud hotline are recorded. (124733)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on promoting the benefit fraud hotline in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. (124736)

The Department runs the benefit fraud communications campaign primarily to positively reinforce honest behaviour, create a climate of intolerance to benefit fraud and to undermine its social acceptability.

The figure given as follows represents media expenditure for those elements of the campaign which include promotion of the national benefit fraud hotline.

Advertising expenditure is only available on an annual basis. Advertising expenditure for the last full 12 month period is given in the following table.

Advertising spend (£000)

2005-06

5,055

Notes:

1. All figures are exclusive of VAT.

2. The figures in these tables refer to media spend only, excluding production and other costs.

3. All figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.