Entirely obvious

The chief executive of HM Revenue & Customs has told MPs that billions of pounds of fraudulent claims for government Covid support schemes had been “inevitable” and it was “unrealistic” to expect all of it to be recovered.

When government’s handing out money like a drunken sailor of course this will happen. The answer being – sorry socialists – not to allow government to hand out like a drunken sailor.

15 thoughts on “Entirely obvious”

  1. In other words, those doing the grifting have the support of the woke. Who’d make too much fuss if the gummint tried to get it back.

  2. Spud will be along soon to explain that it doesn’t matter because the government can just create new money out of thin air to replace it.

  3. Having asked this exact question of someone who was there at the time, I have it on relatively good (although, granted, obviously third-hand now) that the likelihood (and scale) of fraud was discussed before anything got built/any money was paid out.

    The answer was something along the lines of “it went very high up the chain to get someone to sign off on it”.

    Would be a fun Freedom of Information request to get hold of that piece of paper…

  4. Erm….I have some insider knowledge here.

    The control framework between HMRC and companies was very tight – because it could be. The NAO praised this element of controls quite fulsomely. However, HMRC has no direct ability to control fraud undertaken between companies and their employees (the ‘furloughed but working’ fraud that this almost wholly comprises). HMT was warned in advance of this likelihood and HMRC instructed to proceed at ministerial direction. Rightly in view as the money needed to be got out to avoid mass insolvency.

    I’m right up there with everyone who says the civil service needs a sharp smack in the testicles. But just not on this one.

    The big big failure was political. Our economy took a massive hit not from Covid but from the political reaction to Covid. We should never have locked down in the way that we did. way more harm than good was done. We allowed ourselves to be rendered no longer free by nannying medical prodnoses when a freedom and common sense loving government should have told them to fuck right off – as now appears to be the emerging consensus.

  5. It’s the classic between a rock and hard place. Either the civil servants check every application in detail and get news stories about people missing out who should’ve got something or feel that they are entitled to something or they pass everything and get news stories about people committing fraud.

    They should’ve passed everything, but quickly started checking for the most obvious frauds and worked their way through them to the furlough frauds. As for getting all the money back if it’s been spent, then jailing the fraudsters is the answer if the money isn’t returned.

  6. What actually raises my eyebrows is the number of 0’s involved.

    Everybody + dog knew some entrepeneurial types would try and play Silly Buggers with an emergency handout of the size involved. Something, something, human nature. And you can’t check them all beforehand..

    So you expect some chicanery, to the tune of 10’s of millions, possibly even 100-and-change millions. But billions? plural?!!
    That’s…. impressive.. In a non-good way.

  7. What the f*ckers did to OMB directors who had been using salary/dividend remuneration was pretty unforgivable when they were troughing out money to everyone else.

    The mealy mouthed “we’ve no way of knowing from tax returns if their dividends came from the businesses they run” argument was pathetic.

    They accepted the employers’ word that staff were being furloughed with a ‘money now, check later’ policy so could equally have accepted the director’s word on the same basis.

  8. From what I hear – but don’t know – the losses include PPE bought at the top of the market and then not used. Which is always going to happen when you do buy at the top of the market.

  9. You mean the enormous stocks of PPE which, come the inevitable next pandemic, will be unsuitable or more likely mysteriously missing.

  10. Tim. PPE losses true – but zip to do with HMRC / CJRS furloughed but working fraud. That’s a different one.
    There have been CJRS fraud losses. PPE losses. Loan losses (giganto effing huge ones – £12bn+ that got Lord Agnew to resign. Test and trace costing way north of £40bn!!!!. Tax receipts down. The whole BJ government reaction to Covid has been a complete big state, big spend, big tax, nannying clusterthing.

  11. Bloody Test & Trace! For at least a year my wife has been taking LFTs to visit a friend in a care home and they’ve always come back negative, including a recent one, but being distracted she ticked the ‘positive’ box. No chance of backing out of that. You’ve gone & done it & must isolate, and it’s illegal not to. So that app breaks the rule you learn in UI design 101, that a critical action should need a confirmation, perhaps by an ‘Are You Sure?’ dialogue box. It is critical because there is no way of reversing it. Computer says NO! in spades and Plod will be in your case if you don’t submit.

    The other problem is there are two reporting apps for different purposes and the positive/negative boxes are in the reverse order on one of them…

  12. Bear in mind that this amount is less than the amount of foreign aid which even the government admits is stolen, EVERY SINGLE YEAR and hardly anyone gives a fuck about it.

    Much of the outrage is tactical and wouldn’t exist with a ‘different government’.

    As for PPE:

    The political class, practically the entire population screaming “we need PPE, why is the government doing nothing?”
    Government: “fuck, better buy lots of it”
    Other governments also want to buy lots of it.
    Price goes up.
    Government doesn’t think “hmm, no longer value for money, won’t buy any more” but still buys it.

    Two years later, people pretend to be shocked. We have become a cynical country.

  13. Rob… Obviously not cynical enough..

    When it comes to “foreign aid” only the most starry-eyed idealists believe that money (or the goods bought for it) ends up where it’s supposed to.

    As for the “PPE” … What is/was mandated in form and use against this airborne virus would get you kicked offsite in any working environment with dust/particulate hazards. It’s always been a bloody joke.

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