Taxpayer Protection Taskforce appointed to recover fraudulently claimed Covid support

The Government has announced plans to recover up to £1bn of Covid support wrongly claimed by businesses, using a specialised anti-fraud taskforce. Official figures have estimated that £5.8bn has been lost to fraud through its schemes to support businesses during the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Eat Out to Help Out.

HMRC has said that £500m of wrongly claimed support has already been recovered, and another £350m has been returned without the intervention of HMRC. Separately, £650m in grants that were rightfully claimed have been returned because the companies no longer needed the support.

HMRC has now said it plans to reclaim between £800m and £1bn of Covid support money lost to fraud by 2023 through a new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce of 1,265 HMRC employees.

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