Treasury and British Business Bank questioned on Covid loan fraud
As part of the Committee’s inquiry into the Treasury’s role in combating fraud, MPs are likely to question witnesses on the causes of high levels of fraud within the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
Potential focuses include what action was taken to counter covid loan scheme fraud, how the BBLS is monitored, and the provision of its 100% Government-backed guarantee for lenders. Witnesses’ views may also be sought on what should be done to reduce or recover funds fraudulently taken, and what lessons can be learned for the future.
Witnesses are likely to be asked for their response to Lord Agnew’s comments on 9 March, in which he told the Committee that both the Treasury and the BBB could have done, and can do more to tackle and prevent fraud in the BBLS, and claimed that the Treasury “on the fraud side was just a ‘Dad’s Army’ operation”. He also gave his view that the Government should do more to tackle fraud more generally within society.
Other topics may include what actions the Treasury is taking to tackle fraud in the private sector, how new legislation or funding might help tackle the issue, and the Treasury’s view on the likely total levels of fraud across Government (currently estimated by the Government Counter Fraud Agency to be between £29 billion and £52 billion).