It’s feared several companies in Sussex could be investigated after the discovery that between 5 and 10% of furlough cash has been wrongly awarded.
The scheme has paid 80% of the wages of workers placed on leave since March. The HMRC’s say up to three and a half billion pounds in payments may have been claimed fraudulently or paid out in error.
A government spokesman said that although they expect employers in the Uckfield area to check their claims and repay any excess amount, they will be focusing on tackling abuse and fraud.
Data released by the Government on Monday shows the programme has cost the government £35.4bn so far. So far across the UK, 8,000 calls have been received to the HMRC’s fraud telephone hotline. The HMRC is now looking into 27,000 “high risk” cases where they believe a serious error has been made in the amount an employer has claimed. The government spokesman went on the emphasise that it’s risk assessment means it is not going to set out to try to find employers who have made legitimate mistakes in compiling their claims, because this is obviously something new that everybody had to get to grips with in a very difficult time.
This is the first time that the Government has spoken publicly about potential fraud impacting the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.