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Treasury writes off £4.3 billion in Covid payments lost to fraud

HMRC expects to recover only a quarter of the total £5.8 billion lost to fraudulent claims and mistaken payments from the coronavirus (COVID-19) support schemes.

20 Jan 2022

HMRC expects to recover only a quarter of the total £5.8 billion lost to fraudulent claims and mistaken payments from the coronavirus (COVID-19) support schemes.

The latest data confirmed by the tax authority revealed that £4.3 billion of the £5.8 billion lost to fraud looks set to never be recovered.

HMRC says that it recovered £500 million worth of overpayments in 2020/21. Additionally, the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce is expected to recover between £800 million and £1.5 billion between 2021/23.

This figure represents only 22% to 26% of the suspected amount lost to fraud and error, or just £1 recovered for every £4 lost.

A government spokesperson said: 'Throughout this crisis, the government's number one priority has been to protect jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK.

'Robust measures were put in place to control error and fraud in the key COVID support schemes. The controls put in place delivered results. It was right to put the schemes in place despite knowing there would be some error and fraud.'

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