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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the expected reduction in the monetary value of error (a) in income support and (b) jobseekers allowance in 200102. 
Malcolm Wicks: We have set firm targets for reducing the amount of fraud and error in income support and jobseeker's allowance. The latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics on 29 November 2001 show that we have met our first milestone of a 10 per cent. reduction by March 2002 almost twice over. We are currently on track for meeting the targets for 2004 (25 per cent.) and 2006 (50 per cent.).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the constituency of Buckingham were successfully prosecuted for (a) housing and (b) council tax benefit fraud in each year since 1992. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the Epsom and Ewell constituency were successfully prosecuted for housing benefit fraud in each year since 1992. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the units in his Department or its agencies whose primary function is (a) counter fraud policy work and (b) fraud investigation and detection. 
Malcolm Wicks: We set out our strategy for tackling fraud and error in the paperA New Contract for Welfare: Safeguarding Social Security (CM 4276)published on 23 March 1999. The overall aim of the strategy is to have a benefit system which is secure from first claim to final payment.
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and incorrectness in benefit payments. However, there are specific units whose primary function is counter-fraud policy work and fraud investigation and detection.
The Fraud Strategy Unit manages the setting and dissemination of fraud policy for the Department's Agencies. In addition the Fraud Head of Profession (through the Professional Standards Unit) sets standards for operational activity and manages guidance and training for investigators in the Department's Agencies.
There are 14 groups of investigators in the Department. Serious and organised fraud is addressed by the Benefits Agency Security Investigation Service. This is the operational arm of the Counter-Fraud Investigation Branch, led by the Head of Profession, which includes other units concerned with intelligence, joint working and professional standards. In addition, each of the 13 Area Directors in the Benefits Agency manages a resource of investigators known collectively as the Benefit Fraud Investigation Service (in Scotland, the Benefits Investigation Service).
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will give the budget for (a) 200001 and (b) 200102 for (i) the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, (ii) BASIS, (iii) the Fraud Strategy Directorate and (iv) the Professional Standards Unit. 
Malcolm Wicks: We set out our strategy for tackling fraud and error in the paperA New Contract for Welfare: Safeguarding Social security (CM 4276)published on 23 March 1999. The overall aim of the strategy is to have a benefit system which is secure from first claim to final payment.
The implementation of this strategy means that an anti-fraud focus is integral to the work of the whole Department, as is dealing with the wider agenda of error and incorrectness in benefit payments. The remit of the four units specified in the question does not therefore represent the full extent of the Department's counter- fraud strategy.
|Benefit Fraud Inspectorate||5,866,200||6,002,928|
|Fraud Strategy Directorate/Unit||(39)||2,463,209|
|Professional Standards Unit||(39)||2,734,000|
(39) Departmental re-organisation means it is not possible to compare directly one year with another nor to accurately break down the costs to allow an equal comparison.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money has been recovered from persons believed to have fraudulantly obtained benefits in each year since 1997; and if he will give a breakdown of funds recovered as a result of (a) Benefits Agency fraud investigations, (b) local authority investigations and (c) other investigations. 
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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the incidence of fraud in respect of (a) means tested and (b) other benefits in the last five years. 
Malcolm Wicks: Our estimates of levels of fraud and error in income support and jobseeker's allowance are published in the series of reports "Fraud and Error in Claims for Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance" which are placed in the library.
In April this year we also set up the housing benefit review which will deliver an on-going measurement of fraud and error in housing benefit. Fraud in other benefits is examined in our programme of national benefit reviews.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress towards the public service agreement target (1) for the timescale for processing minimum income guarantee claims following the submission of the required evidence; 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many times Ministers from his Department have visited (a) the Teesside area and (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet locally based businesses. 
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reductions are applied to an entitled person's (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit during a period of in-patient (i) NHS hospital treatment and (ii) private hospital treatment. 
Malcolm Wicks: After six weeks of in-patient treatment in a national health service hospital people in receipt of housing benefit (HB) or council tax benefit (CTB), but who do not receive income support (IS), have their benefit reduced. This adjustment reflects the patient's lower day-to-day living expenses which result in more income being available to meet housing costs. At
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this stage, no automatic reduction is applied to HB or CTB paid to people receiving privately funded hospital treatment.
People who receive HB or CTB and IS will have an analogous reduction applied to their IS entitlement after six weeks of in-patient treatment in a national health service hospital. Their HB or CTB entitlement will remain unchanged at this point unless they cease to be entitled to IS. Where IS entitlement does stop, people affected can reapply for HB or CTB at the reduced levels.
After 52 weeks, or earlier if the local authority decides that the person's absence from home is likely to be substantially more than 52 weeks or permanent, both HB and CTB are withdrawn for all hospital in-patients.
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