Cost of Covid fraud write-offs equates to £156 per household in Milton Keynes

Local Labour councillors are furious are the government's decision

By Sally Murrer
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:56 pm

The government's decision to write off billions of pounds worth of Covid frauds by unscrupulous businesses will cost Milton Keynes the equivalent of £16m - £156 per household.

New figures, published today by Milton Keynes Labour, reveal the staggering cost of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's decision..

This week Mr Sunak announced he was writing off £4.3bn in Covid fraud – money wrongly claimed in furlough and business loans payments by companies during the pandemic.

That is the equivalent of 128,000 nurses’ salaries, 146,000 police officers, or one and a half QE class aircraft carriers.

And, says the Labour group, taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill.

MK Labour councillor Rob Middleton, the Cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “Families in Milton Keynes are facing a cost of living crisis – thanks in no small part to this government. The Conservatives are the party of high tax because they are the party of low growth. That means higher National Insurance, cuts to support for working families, and they want every council in the country to raise council tax as well.

“Now we know that while they are hammering people in Milton Keynes with higher tax and lower support they are - at the very same time – happy to write off more than £4bn in fraud.

“Whether it is lockdown parties in Downing Street or raising taxes for us while fraudsters get off scot free – this Conservative Government are taking us for fools.”

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “While prices soar, billions in hard-earned taxpayer cash has been frittered away by fraud — and the chancellor is happy to shrug his shoulders and lose it forever.

“Labour will treat every pound of taxpayers' money with the respect it deserves. Government should be able to get money to the right places, without losing billions in taxpayers' cash.”

Rishi Sunak launched a £100million taskforce to crack down on Covid fraud in February last year. The move came after criticism that the furlough and business loans schemes had been left "wide open to exploitation" by fraudsters.