Furlough: Government urged to crack down on ‘opportunistic fraud’ costing taxpayers | Personal Finance | Finance

Furlough fraud involves the exploitation of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for unscrupulous reasons. Over recent months, there have been thousands of reports to HMRC, where people believe companies are breaking the rules laid out by the government to protect workers. But as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the furlough scheme to April 2021, MPs have urged further action is taken to combat the issue of furlough fraud.

She said: “With the Treasury claiming it can’t give even a ballpark figure for the cost of COVID job support until the end of next year, public scrutiny of where taxpayers’ money is going is essential.

“HM Treasury and HMRC should investigate whether more data within and outside of the tax system could be used to determine eligibility for currently excluded groups and write to the committee within six weeks to explain their findings.

“Many workers including freelancers and entrepreneurs have not had a penny and are really struggling as they continue to fall through the gaps.

“There is data that could be crunched to reach and help these individuals, many of whom will be unable to work at all under Tier 3 restrictions.”

Last week, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of April 2021.

The government will continue to contribute 80 percent towards wages to provide support to people and businesses.

He said: “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.

“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”

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