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Lord Agnew questioned on covid loan fraud

8 March 2022

The Treasury Committee questions Lord Agnew on the level of fraud in the Government’s emergency covid support and loan schemes, and on the Treasury’s role and record in combatting fraud.


Wednesday 9 March 2022, Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament

At 2.15pm

  • Lord Agnew of Oulton, Former Minister for Efficiency and Transformation at HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office

With reports that £29 billion has been lost to fraud across Government, the Committee will investigate how losses can be recovered, whether law enforcement agencies are appropriately resourced, and lessons for the future.

It comes as the Committee today publishes correspondence from the top civil servant at the Treasury on the level of fraud in the covid support schemes. In response to a request from the Committee, Sir Tom Scholar, Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, outlines that the Government currently estimates that 8.7% of furlough claims and 8.5% of Eat Out to Help Out claims were fraudulent or due to error.

While previously published documents from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimated that £4.9 billion was lost to fraud in the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, the Government outlines that this figure is likely to have reduced to £3.3 billion.

Commenting ahead of the session, Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:

“The Government’s economic support and loan schemes were introduced in record time and provided a vital lifeline for millions of businesses and individuals in the darkest days of the pandemic. However, the level of fraud coming out of these schemes is very concerning and there are clearly lessons to be learnt. We will be questioning Lord Agnew on his experience of the Government’s role in preventing fraud and how future support schemes are not so easily manipulated by fraudsters.”

Further information

Image: Crown copyright/Open Government Licence-v3.0