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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the FA, the Premier League and Sport England regarding his continued support for the bid to host the World Cup in 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 3 July 2000]: I have discussed the bid for the 2006 World Cup with the Football Association and with the Prime Minister's Special Envoy over the last week. Despite recent events at the European Football Championships, the bid will not be withdrawn. The Government agree with the FA that the England bid is of the highest technical quality, and will continue to offer its full support.
Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 3 July 2000]: The 2006 World Cup bid is a bid by the Football Association. Reference to the costs of the bid are made in the FA's accounts for the years ended 31 December 1998 and 1999, and are expected to appear in the accounts for the year ended 31 December 2000. Any decision to publish full accounts for the bid is for the FA to make.
Sport England allocated £3 million towards the cost of the bid, which is expected to total an estimated £9 million by the time that the FIFA Executive Council announces its decision on 7 July. Although it is not a Lottery condition to require published accounts, Sport England closely monitors how the Lottery grant is spent.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the contribution of private companies in the United Kingdom in providing financial support to young athletes competing for Great Britain in international competitions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial support is available to young athletes competing for Great Britain in international competitions; what percentage of such financial support is provided by private companies through sponsorship; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he will amend the BBC Agreement to enable the Department of Social Security to make certain payments to the BBC in recognition of the fact that, from 1 November, people aged 75 or over will become entitled to free television licences. 
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Official Report, column 442W, what the cost of producing the annual report of his Department was in each of the two most recent years in which they were published, excluding the cost of buying back copies for free distribution from The Stationery Office. 
Mr. Chris Smith: The costs incurred producing the Departmental Annual Report in each of the two most recent years, excluding the cost of buying back copies for free distribution from the Stationery Office were:
|New and renewal claims to Housing Benefit--April 1998 to March 1999||18,000|
|Housing Benefit recipients--August 1999||8,650|
1. Numbers in receipt of Housing Benefit for Lancaster city council have been rounded to the nearest 10 cases.
2. The numbers of claims to Housing Benefit have been rounded to two significant figures.
3. The Department collects data by local authority.
For claims--Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly Administrative Returns April 1998--March 1999.
For recipients--Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly Caseload Stock Counts Returns August 1999.
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Angela Eagle: "Safeguarding Social Security" published in March 1999 makes it clear that we want a benefit system which is secure from start to finish. We are committed to taking tough action against Housing Benefit fraud. We have already reformed the anti-fraud financial incentive scheme for local authorities to ensure they continue to be rewarded for detecting cases of genuine benefit fraud and non-residency, but also have the opportunity to earn rewards for successfully prosecuting fraud cases and for adopting the Department's Verification Framework. The Verification Framework helps to secure the administration of Housing Benefit through a series of additional checks, carried out throughout the life of a benefit claim, and 249 local authorities have been paid or accepted funds to implement the Verification Framework.
The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate is conducting inspections of local authorities; to date 58 reports have been published. Last month the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate issued new good practice guidance to improve service delivery and help tackle fraud and error. We have made it abundantly clear to all authorities that when inspections show persistent failings we will use our powers to direct authorities on the standards they are to meet and the timescales for achieving them.
272 local authorities are currently using the Royal Mail "do not redirect" scheme which prevents benefit claimants from using postal redirection arrangements to make false claims to benefit from multiple addresses. To reduce the scope for fraud and error and to streamline the administration of Housing Benefit we have installed Remote Access Terminals to give authorities direct 'on line' access to a range of relevant information on other DSS benefit systems. 388 authorities currently operate at least one terminal and we plan to install terminals in a further 16 authorities by the end of September 2000.
We are also introducing electronic transfer of data to speed up the transfer of information from the Benefits Agency to local authorities and further reduce the scope for fraud and error. So far 191 local authorities have the equipment installed; by this Autumn we expect nearly all local authorities to be using this technology.
Angela Eagle: The information is not available in the form requested. Such information as is available is as follows. The latest estimates are derived from the National Housing Benefit Accuracy Review 1997-98 which estimated losses of £490 million in England with a margin of error of approximately ±35 per cent. (£330 million-£670 million).
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revised area benefit reviews; how many local authorities will be covered by such actions; when such actions will be completed; and to what level of accuracy he estimates such measurements will be made. 
On the basis of the size and structure of the sample of Housing Benefit cases currently being examined in the Area Benefit Reviews programme, it is predicted that the margin of error around the estimate of the value of losses due to fraud and error will be between ±10 per cent. and ±20 per cent.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cases of suspected Housing Benefit fraud there were in (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) 1999; how many of these cases went to court; and how many of them resulted in a successful prosecution. 
The table shows the number of cases where Housing Benefit (HB) fraud has been established on the balance of probabilities by local authorities, the number of cases which were referred by local authorities to lawyers for prosecution action and the total number of successful prosecutions. It does not include cases involving benefit fraud where Housing Benefit is one among several benefits being claimed and the Benefits Agency have investigated the case.
|Total number of cases|
|Cases where fraud established and weekly benefit savings claimed||220||160|
|Total number of cases referred for prosecution||1.3||1.9|
|Total number of successful prosecutions||0.7||0.8|
1. Includes all cases where fraud is suspected including those that are not live, or involve a landlord, or organised fraud
2. Figures are rounded to two significant figures
3. The Department also tackles HB/CTB fraud as a by-product of investigating Income Support (IS) fraud. The above table contains all cases where fraud was established and weekly benefit savings were claimed by Local Authorities. All cases discovered by the Department are not included. Therefore, the total number of cases where HB/CTB fraud was established is much higher than stated above.
Administrative Returns 1995-96 to 1998-99.
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