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Business: Coronavirus

Question for Treasury

UIN 814, tabled on 11 May 2022

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many prosecutions there have been for fraudulent covid-19 business support claims in the last two years.

Answered on

16 May 2022

At the Spring Budget 2021 the Government announced a £100m investment into a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to significantly extend Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) work to tackle fraud and error in the COVID-19 support schemes that HMRC administered (Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out).HMRC designed these schemes to prevent fraud, both in the eligibility criteria and the claim process itself. HMRC also put in place a series of checks on claims before they were paid, so they blocked those that were highly indicative of criminal activity.The Government and HMRC always knew they could be attractive to fraudsters and are taking tough action to tackle fraudulent behaviour. Anyone who keeps grant money despite knowing they were not entitled to it, faces having to repay up to double the amount they received, plus interest and potentially criminal prosecution.To date there have been no prosecutions on the HMRC administered COVID-19 support schemes. However, HMRC has 21 active criminal investigations and the final decision on whether to prosecute in these cases will be made by independent prosecution partners.

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