The Scotsman

Fur­lough cash fraud fears raised

- By AU­GUST GRA­HAM Fraud · White-collar Crime · Crime · HM Revenue and Customs

The UK Gov­ern­ment be­lieves it may have paid out up to £3.5 bil­lion in wrong or fraud­u­lent claims for the fur­lough scheme.

Jim H arr a, the to pc ivil ser­vant at HMRC, said his staff be­lieve be­tween 5 per cent and 10 per cent of fur­lough cash might have gone to the wrong places. “We have made an as­sump­tion for the pur­poses of our plan­ning that the er­ror and fraud rate in this scheme could be be­tween 5 per cent and 10 per cent,” the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary said.

He was speak­ing yes­ter­day in front of MPS on the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee.

The Gov­ern­ment has so far paid out £35.4bn in fur­lough cash, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures. It means that some - where bet ween£1.75bn and £3.5bn could have been paid out wrongly.

“That will range from de­lib­er­ate fraud through to er­ror,” he said.

“What we have said in our risk assess­ment is we are not go­ing to set out to try to find em­ploy­ers who have made le­git­i­mate mis­takes in com­pil­ing their claims.” The Gov­ern­ment rolled out the mas­sive scheme at break­neck speed.

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