Sumary of HMRC boosts efforts to recoup £1bn in suspect Covid payouts:
- British tax officials have ramped up efforts to claw back £1bn from fraudulent or incorrect furlough payouts, after opening up tens of thousands of investigations against companies.
- According to figures disclosed under freedom of information laws, HM Revenue and Customs has stepped up the number of investigations into potentially fraudulent pandemic support claims over the past eight months, with more than 26,500 interventions launched by officials since the spring.
- It also covers investigations into the Treasury’s parallel income support scheme for the self-employed, as well as Rishi Sunak’s “eat-out-to-help-out” restaurant discount scheme, which was taken up by thousands of hospitality venues across Britain last August.
- With a cumulative cost of £70bn to taxpayers so far, the furlough scheme paid 80% of the wages of up to 11.5 million workers placed on leave since the pandemic first struck in March 2020, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
- However, it is estimated that more than £5.5bn of taxpayers’ money was handed to fraudsters or paid out incorrectly for furlough, the self-employed income support scheme, and eat out to help out.