House of Lords - Explanatory Note
Social Security Fraud Bill [H.L.] - continued          House of Lords

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187.     Only one of the measures in the Bill is expected to have an impact on businesses and this is the "Additional powers to obtain information" clause. This is expected to result in an annual cost to business of between £2.5m and £7.6m. No direct impact on charities or voluntary bodies has been identified.

188.     The measures in the Bill are designed to prevent losses due to fraud and error within the social security system by assisting the Government achieve the targets stated in the DSS's Public Service Agreement to reduce fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance by 25% by the end of the Spending Review 2000 period (April 2001 to March 2004), and by 50% by 2006.

189.     It is anticipated that the measures within the Bill will bring about (gross) total savings in the range of £200m to £400m per annum. The vast majority of this total savings figure will be achieved through the additional powers to obtain information (£200m). Other measures within the Bill have no expected costs or savings figures attached to them either because they are corrective measures (change of circumstances, delegation of functions) or because future savings are as yet unquantifiable (exchange of information with overseas authorities, benefit loss provisions, colluding employers).

190.     Total costs to Government and authorities administering Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit are estimated to be:

  • set-up costs of £0.75m (£0.6m for additional powers to obtain information, £0.05m for loss of benefit provisions and indicative figures suggest £0.1m associated with measures concerning colluding employers). These will be met by Government.

  • On-going annual costs to Government of £3.65m; and

  • On-going annual costs to authorities administering Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit of £1.65m.

A full Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Bill is available in the library of each House of Parliament and on the DSS website,


191.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Rt. Hon. Baroness Hollis of Heigham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security, has made the following statement:

"In my view the provisions of the Social Security Fraud Bill [H.L.] are compatible with the Convention rights."


192.     All provisions are to come into force by commencement orders.

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Prepared: 19 December 2000