§ Mr. Duncan Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many SPOTLIGHTS on benefit cheats have been carried out since May 1997. 
§ Mr. Timms
[holding answer 2 March 1999]: We have incorporated many of the approaches and techniques of "spotlight" into a programme of anti-fraud drives involving the Benefits Agency, local authorities, the Police and other agencies which target specific areas of fraud and abuse. Since May 1997 there have been no anti-fraud campaigns under the specific banner of "spotlight on benefit cheats". However, we have put more resources into the fight against fraud with the result that £1.9 billion has been detected in 1997–98 compared with £1.5 billion in 1996–97. As well as detecting fraud, we have tightened the checking of new Income Support claims so as to prevent fraud from entering the system from the outset. This will save an estimated £200 million in the current year.