Benefit Fraud

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were prosecuted for committing benefit fraud in financial years (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

The information is in the tables:

Benefits Agency fraud investigations
Year Prosecutions Cautions and administrative penalties as an alternative to prosecution(6) Total
1997–98 12,009 12,009
1998–99 11,185 2,835 14,020
1999–2000 9,977 12,332 22,309
2000–01 9,030 15,092 24,122
Local authority investigations(7)
Year Number of successful prosecutions(8) Number of administrative penalties(6) administered as an alternative to prosecution(8) Total(8)
1997–98 700 700
1998–99 800 800
1999–2000 860 390 1,250
2000–01 1,100 550 1,650

(6) Administrative Penalties, as an alternative to prosecution, were introduced by the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act (1997) with effect from December 1998.

(7) Figures are taken from local authority management information returns. It is possible that there could be some double counting with Benefits Agency data if there were cases which involved a joint prosecution.

(8) Data are not available for all 409 local authorities. The total for Great Britain includes estimates for local authorities that have not responded. These estimates are based on historical and regional data. This type of estimate is standard practice in reporting totals where there have been non-respondents. The figures have been rounded to two significant figures.

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