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Fraudulent Claims (Local Authority Funding)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 20 June 2011

6. What steps he is taking to reduce the level of fraudulent claims for funding awarded by local authorities. (60278)

Last month, in conjunction with the National Fraud Authority, I published a 10-point plan outlining how councils can save £2 billion a year from tackling fraud. Whether it be through dealing with tenancy cheats or organised crimes, this is a key way to save taxpayers’ money and protect front-line services.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Will he join me in recognising the lead taken by Elmbridge borough council, which over the last year alone recovered £72,000 of overpaid benefit and is using data checks to crack down on the abuse of the single person council tax discount, cutting out waste and fraud and saving taxpayers’ money?

I will indeed join my hon. Friend in congratulating his council. As I said in my original answer, this is quite a big deal, amounting to £2 billion a year. I think it was Cheshire East council that managed to save £500,000 a year on the single person discount. We are not talking about trivial amounts here; we are talking about something that will make a big difference.