Furlough fraud of £3.5bn

In early September the Government revealed that an estimated £3.5 billion of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments may have been claimed fraudulently or paid out in error.

The scheme, which has been in operation since March, has so far cost the Government approximately £35.4 billion and the fraudulent and mistaken payments are thought to make up between 5 and 10% of the overall amount claimed.

HMRC says it does not plan to track down employers who have made legitimate mistakes in compiling their claims, but it expects them to check their claims and repay any excess amount.  HMRC will be focusing on tackling abuse and fraud instead, and has a list of 27,000 high-risk cases which have been generated through its fraud telephone hotline.