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Bribery

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions for the (a) offer and (b) taking of bribes have been brought under (i) the Prevention of Corruption Acts and (ii) common law in each year since 1997. [12650]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 5 November 2001]: Statistics held centrally do not distinguish between the offer of or taking of bribes and neither do they enable offences under common law to be reliably identified.

The following table shows the number of persons proceeded against under the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 1916 in England and Wales.

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 187W

Number
199719
199831
199916
200017

Charities (Voluntary Registration)

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the review of the criteria for the voluntary registration of charities. [13196]

Angela Eagle: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 93W, that he had asked the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) of the Cabinet Office to undertake a broad-ranging review of the legal and regulatory framework for charities and the wider voluntary and community sector. Subsequently, the PIU confirmed that the position of charities excepted from registration with the Charity Commission, was one of the areas that was to be looked at as part of its review. The work by the Home Office and the Charity Commission on the way forward, has therefore been discontinued pending the outcome of the PIU review. The PIU is expected to complete its review early in 2002.

Terrorist Attacks

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional measures have been taken to guard Britain's (a) oil rigs and (b) nuclear power stations from terrorist attack, following the events in the USA on 11 September. [11544]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

Stringent security measures apply at oil industry installations and civil nuclear sites and these are kept under regular review. We are reviewing these precautions in the light of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States.

It is not our policy to disclose details of security measures taken in connection with these facilities.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to introduce (a) a shorter attendance allowance claim form and (b) an attendance allowance freephone claim line; and what plans he has to increase take-up of attendance allowance. [12437]

Maria Eagle: Last April we reduced the attendance allowance claim pack by nine pages with no loss of essential information. We are continuing to look at what further changes can be made to make the form shorter and easier to complete while ensuring we obtain all the necessary information about a person's care needs.

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We have no plans to introduce a separate freephone line for attendance allowance claims, as experience shows that it is not normally possible to make a full and sufficient telephone claim for benefits requiring detailed evidence of the needs arising from disability.

We have no plans for a specific take-up campaign of either benefit.

Minimum Income Guarantee

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to increase take-up of minimum income guarantee among attendance allowance and disability living allowance (a) claimants and (b) entitled non-recipients. [12436]

Mr. McCartney: We are investigating how best to identify pensioners aged 60 or over who are awarded attendance allowance or disability living allowance and inviting them to claim the minimum income guarantee.

We are working in partnership with organisations for older people to improve access to benefits and take up of the minimum income guarantee (MIG). This includes projects on a national good practice guide and a survey of local take-up initiatives.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) percentage of minimum income guarantee (i) claimants, (ii) eligible non-recipients and (iii) claimants and eligible non-recipients who are entitled to the minimum income guarantee as a consequence of their eligibility for the severe disability premium; [12613]

Mr. McCartney: As at May 2001, there were 1.7 million pensioners receiving the minimum income guarantee (MIG). This is nearly 16 per cent. of the pensioner population. Of these MIG recipients, 405,000 (24 per cent. of the total) receive the severe disability premium.

The latest available figures on the number of people entitled to the MIG who are not claiming it are set out in the publication "Take-Up of Income Related Benefits—Statistics for 1999/2000", copies of which are available in the Library.

Neither figures for the number of eligible non recipients who are entitled to the severe disability premium, nor figures for the number of eligible non recipients who are entitled to the MIG as a consequence of their eligibility for the severe disability premium, are available.

Foreign Nationals (Benefits)

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what state benefits foreign nationals are entitled to when given exceptional leave to remain in the UK. [9965]

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Malcolm Wicks: Foreign nationals who are granted exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom (UK) are generally eligible to claim the same range of social security benefits, subject to the same rules of entitlement, as any UK citizen.

The only exceptions to this are people who are admitted to the UK on the condition that they do not have recourse to public funds, and those who are admitted on the condition that a relative who is an existing UK resident gives a written undertaking to support them.

Invalidity Care Allowance

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimates he has made of the number of carers in work during term time who do not qualify for invalidity care allowance for looking after an invalid student during college vacations because of the operation of the rules governing the calculation of earnings. [9991]

Maria Eagle: This information is not available.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many suspected cases of (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit fraud there were in the financial year 2000–01; how many of these led to a prosecution; and how many of these prosecutions were successful. [10412]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 26 October 2001]: The information is in the table:

Local authority fraud investigations 2000–01

Number
Cases referred to the fraud/investigation section:
For further action460,000
For further action that were investigated by the fraud section370,000
Cases referred for prosecution2,300
Successful prosecutions1,100

Notes:

1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple

2. The figures have been rounded to two significant figures

3. Data are not available for all 409 local authorities. These totals include estimates for local authorities that have not responded which are based on historical and regional data. This type of estimate is standard practice in reporting totals where there have been non-respondents

Source:

Housing Benefit Management Information System Quarterly Administration Returns April 1999 to March 2000


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been successfully prosecuted for benefit fraud in the last year for which figures are available, broken down into those prosecuted (a) for the first time, (b) for the second time and (c) for the third or subsequent time. [10413]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 26 October 2001]: In 2000–01, 24,112 people were prosecuted or sanctioned by Benefits Agency fraud investigators and local authorities reported that they prosecuted or sanctioned 1,650 people 1 . These are more than double the numbers in 1997–98.

6 Nov 2001 : Column: 190W

9,030 successful prosecutions were undertaken by the Benefits Agency and 1,100 successful prosecutions were reported by local authorities 1 . Our research suggests that approximately 5 per cent. of prosecutions involve a person with a previous conviction for benefit fraud. We are putting in place mechanisms to identify second and further convictions.





Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent in the development and maintenance of the "Targeting Fraud" website to date. [11256]

Malcolm Wicks: The total cost so far has been £35,631.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to investigate the allegations of benefit fraud committed by a person whose name has been communicated to him; and if he will make a statement. [9640]

Malcolm Wicks: It is not appropriate to disclose details of investigations into individual cases of alleged benefit fraud.


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