Question tabled

Labour wants answers on £4.3bn Covid fraudsters

Pat McFadden speaking in the Commons

Labour is calling on UK Government ministers to explain why they have written off at least £4.3 billion fraudulently obtained through coronavirus business support schemes.

The Government last week issued the estimate with no press release or statement to MPs. 

Labour has now tabled an urgent question in Parliament demanding to know why more was not being done to stop the fraudsters.

During the debate on Tuesday, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden called on the Treasury to “launch an investigation into how this happened and do more to recover this money from the fraudsters who stole it.”

In the House of Commons, he said:  “This writing off comes as families are facing a cost of living triple whammy of rocketing energy bills, tax increases and a decline in real wages.

“And coming on top of billions spent on crony contracts and billions more lost in loan fraud schemes, these levels of waste destroy any claim the party opposite ever had to careful stewardship of the public finances.”

A taskforce set up to claw back wrongly claimed cash has recovered £500 million and is expecting to recover an additional £1 billion from scammers.

But this means the Treasury only expects to recover £1 of every £4 taken by fraudsters.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Obviously fraud is unacceptable and we’re taking action against those who abuse the system – 150,000 ineligible claims blocked, £500 million recovered last year. HMRC taskforce is expected to recover an additional £1 billion of taxpayers’ money.”

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