HMRC admits that billions of Covid aid lost to fraudulent claims

COVID SCHEME: HMRC admitted received billions of false claims Photo credit:

THE decision to close the UK’s Taxpayer Protection Taskforce could involve the loss of up to £5.1 billion (€5.7 billion).

The £100 million (€112.3 million) taskforce was created to combat fraud in the Covid-19 financial support schemes administered by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) during the pandemic.  Its 1,000 employees were assigned to focusing on recouping fraudulent and faulty claims.

A cross-party parliamentary committee voiced concerns on March 8 that HMRC’s plans to close the taskforce would result in paying insufficient attention to chasing up the billions of public money lost in this way.

The committee learnt that HMRC estimated that between £2 and £5.1 billion (€2.6 and €5.7 billion) of spurious claims were made to the furlough scheme for company workers, the support programme for the self-employed and the “Eat Out to help out” meal subsidy plan.

This was unlikely to have been recovered by 2023-24, the committee found.

“It would be unacceptable for HMRC to write off such a large amount of taxpayer’s money,” the committee commented.

“Too many companies claimed that shouldn’t have and now won’t give it back,” declared Dame Meg Hillier, the committee’s Labour chairwoman.

HMRC said in January that the taskforce “has not given value for money” and announced that it intended to close the unit in September this year.

The parliamentary committee has now revealed that according to HMRC, the taskforce is likely to recoup between £525 and £625 million (€589.5 and €701.8 million).


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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at