“High level” of fraud in UK government emergency loans

The British Court of Auditors accuses the government of having delayed putting in place the tools of the fight.

The British auditor on Friday pointed out “high level“Fraud in an emergency loan program, estimated at 4.9 billion pounds by the government, judging”inadequate»The measures taken by the executive to recover part of it. The report concerns a program announced at the end of April 2020 in the midst of a pandemic to give SMEs bank loans 100% guaranteed by the government, limited to 50,000 pounds or 25% of annual turnover and repayable over a period of up to at ten years old.

The government estimated at the end of November at 4.9 billion pounds the level of fraud on a total of more than 46 billion loans guaranteed through this emergency program. “The government has prioritized payment speed over almost all other aspects“When granting loans, which resulted in”high levels of fraud estimated“, Tackled the National Audit Office (NAO) in its report.

“Inadequate” means of control

Anti-fraud measures “were implemented too slowly“To be effective, and the government must now”focus on detecting and collecting fraudulent loans», Continued the NAO.

The auditor calls on the government to do more to recover unfairly obtained loans, ruling “inadequate“The objective of recovering”at least £ 6 million in fraudulent loans»And the additional budget of 32 million pounds planned to fight against fraud.

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