Furlough fraud to cost up to £7bn – with no civil penalties issued yet

by | May 12, 2021

• Furlough fraud and error set to cost between £3.5bn and £7bn

• 5 known arrests for fraud so far concerning £5m in fraud

• No civil penalties have yet been issued for furlough fraud

• More investment required to tackle the scale of the problem

Furlough fraud and error is set to cost between £3.5bn and £7bn by the time the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends in September 2021 a new estimate produced by TaxWatch has found.

Despite being aware of the scale of the problem, and making several high profile arrests, HMRC appear not to have issued any penalties for furlough fraud yet.

DWP estimates that £4.6bn per year is lost to benefits fraud and error. To tackle this, the Counter Fraud, Compliance and Debt (CFCD) Department of the DWP had approximately 8,000 staff in 2019. By comparison, this new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce sees 1,265 HMRC staff chasing up to £7bn of money lost to fraud and error lost from CJRS, while also having to deal with issues arising from the multitude of other Covid-19 schemes.

Read the full report here.

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