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Housing Benefit Fraud

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on initiatives to reduce housing benefit fraud in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (118802)

Information regarding the amounts provided to local authorities to help reduce fraud and error in housing benefit is in the following table.

Amount (£ million)

1997-98

62.21

1998-99

38.63

1999-00

39.07

2000-01

35.11

2001-02

65.58

2002-03

73.75

2003-04

130.50

2004-05

128.44

2005-06

143.13

Notes:

1. A number of counter-fraud schemes have operated from 1997. These are the Weekly Benefit Saving Scheme, the New Incentive Scheme, the Security Against Fraud and Error Scheme and the Verification Framework. The figures include set up and ongoing costs for the Verification Framework in addition to money claimed by local authorities for work done under the Weekly Benefit Saving Scheme, the New Incentive Scheme and the Security Against Fraud and Error Scheme.

2. The main changes in expenditure between years can be explained as follows: A tightening of the rules in 1998-99 reduced the amounts local authorities could claim for counter-fraud work. The increase in 2001-02 was due to the replacement of the Weekly Benefit Saving Scheme by the New Incentive Scheme.

A further increase in subsidy paid in 2003/04 stemmed from increases in the rewards for anti-fraud work.

Source:

1997-98 to 2000-01 data are from the DWP Appropriation Accounts; later figures are from the DWP Resource Accounts.