Oral Answers to Questions — Means-tested Benefits (Take-up)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2 April 2001.

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Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson Conservative, Ruislip - Northwood 12:00, 2 April 2001

Why was it then that the Minister of State gave such a disingenuous answer to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice), when he said that his Department did not have final figures on minimum income guarantee take-up? Is it not the case that such figures were made available in an answer given to my hon. Friend the shadow Secretary of State on 5 March, which showed that out of the 840,000 people who made inquiries, only 82,000 were eligible and took up benefits? There was a cost of about £15 million. Is it not clear that that is a gross waste of taxpayers' money? Could not the system operate more effectively?