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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many hits the Targeting Fraud website has received; how many cases of suspected fraud have been reported to the website; how many of these suspected cases have been investigated; how many of them have led to a successful prosecution; and how many of them have led to a custodial sentence. 
Malcolm Wicks: The website is only one part of the Targeting Fraud advertising campaign, just as prosecution is only one way of punishing fraudsters. The campaign is succeeding in raising awareness of benefit fraud and reinforcing the message that committing fraud is wrong.
|Targeting fraud website from 7 May 2000 to 31 March 2002|
|Number of hits||(6)1,653,514|
|Number of cases of suspected fraud reported||11,802|
|Number of cases accepted for action by investigation staff||2,734|
|Number of resulting investigations completed||673|
|Number of resulting benefit rate changes||(7)180|
|Number of prosecutions so far||4|
|Number of resulting custodial sentences||(8)n/a|
(6) The figure is for the number of hits to 30 March 2002. The number of hits is recorded on a weekly basis and cannot be broken down further.
(7) Figures include increases and decreases and can relate either to fraud, client error or official error.
(8) Information is not collated centrally on the number of custodial sentences arising from investigations as a direct result of the Targeting Fraud Website.
Internet Team, DWP Communications and Fraud Information By Sector system.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 7 May 2002, Official Report, column 79W, on the Rent Service, if he will call for a report from the Rent Service on the basis of its estimate of the likely increase in the number of localities following the Court of Appeal judgment on local reference rent restrictions in Stockport; and if he will publish the report. 
24 Jun 2002 : Column 674W
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which organisations and outside bodies which were in receipt of grant in 199798 are no longer; what the annual saving is (a) individually and (b) in aggregate; which organisations and outside bodies which were not in receipt of grant in 199798 now are; and what the annual cost is (i) individually and (ii) in aggregate. 
Mr. McCartney: The organisations and outside bodies currently receiving grants from the Department for Work and Pensions are the same as those receiving grants from the constituent parts of the Department during 199798.
Malcolm Wicks: Section 27(5) of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 means that no new Temporary Compensation Payment agreements may be entered into after 31 March 2002. Regulations under section 27(9) of the Act to revive the scheme have been laid before the House today.
Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to allow the Child Support Agency the power of surveillance in tackling fraud; and if he will make a statement. 
These powers have been buttressed by the creation, in section 13 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, of two new criminal offences, of failing to give information and of knowingly giving false information. These offences carry fines of up to £1,000. The provision has been in force since January 2001.
Ministers have therefore taken the view that the Child Support Agency need not use the powers granted to the Department by its inclusion, as a relevant public authority for the purposes of sections 28 and 29 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, in Schedule 1 of that Act. An important additional factor in that decision is that surveillance is intensely resource-intensive and diversion of resources into such activity cannot be justified when the Agency's focus must be on implementation of the new child support scheme. The position on the use of surveillance is kept under review.
24 Jun 2002 : Column 675W
Mr. McCartney: Most people will automatically benefit from the state second pension without having to do anything new or different. Our publicity activity therefore focuses on the groups who may not automatically start building up state second pension and may need to take appropriate action, primarily carers and parents.
We have produced information both on our website and as a leaflet to inform these two groups about the state second pension and to outline any action they may need to take to build up entitlement. We are also currently conducting promotional activity for carers and parents about state second pension, which includes press advertising in national and local press and relevant magazines and direct mail to relevant advisory organisations.
We anticipate carrying out further promotional activity in the future to continue to ensure that people are aware of the action they need to take to benefit from the availability of the state second pension.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken by each local authority in England and Scotland to process new housing benefit applications was in the most recent year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Under Best Value, we have set a range of performance indicators for Housing Benefit which are designed to ensure that authorities provide their communities with a faster, more accurate service which is more secure against fraud, and which provides value for money and takes account of the views and needs of clients. Authorities are required to set challenging local targets against the indicators and, from April 2002, have been set aspirational targets for speed of processing.
The first full year in which data was collected on the performance of local authorities against Best Value performance indicators was 200001. Information on the average time taken by each local authority in England to process new Housing Benefit claims for 200001 has been placed in the Library.
24 Jun 2002 : Column 676W
Information on the average time taken by each local authority in Scotland to process new Housing Benefit claims for 200001 is in the Accounts Commission publication "Performance Indicators 200001: Benefits, Finance and Corporate Issues", a copy of which is available in the Library.
Clare Short: The preliminary needs assessment that was prepared for the Tokyo conference estimated, under a low case scenario, that Afghanistan's funding requirements over the next five years would be $8.3 billion, excluding humanitarian inputs. It is doubtful whether Afghanistan will have the capacity to absorb this amount in the short term: our estimate is that a total of $1 billion per annum will be required for a combination of humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction activities. Provided donors deliver on the pledges made at Tokyo, sufficient funds should be available.
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