They don't seem to care! Angela Rayner erupts at 'criminal waste' of taxpayers' money


Last week, figures released by HMRC found £5.8billion was stolen from pandemic relief schemes such as furlough and self-employment support by people claiming cash they were not entitled to.

A special taskforce recovered £500million last year and is expecting to recover an additional £1billion from scammers.

This means the Treasury only expects to write off £4.3billion – or £1 of every £4 taken – by fraudsters, the Mirror reported.

Now, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner, has lashed out at the Government.

Ms Rayner tweeted a video from December where Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves, said allowing fraudsters to take billions of public money was a “criminal waste” of taxpayers’ money.

In her own tweet, Ms Rayner branded the Government as incompetent.

She tweeted: “Imagine how helpful the billions £ that has been taken by fraudsters could help those in fuel poverty now.

“This Conservative Government are totally incompetent.

“Even worse, they don’t seem to care.”

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“Leaving the till open and unattended for thieves to clear out would be a sackable offence for a shopworker, yet apparently it is acceptable for a Chancellor.”

And Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson tweeted: “You can bet this Government wouldn’t be so casual if it was benefit claims.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We introduced these unprecedented Covid support schemes at speed to protect jobs and livelihoods.

“The result of the action is our economy is back to pre-pandemic levels, we are the first major European economy to report that.”

He added: “Obviously fraud is unacceptable and we’re taking against those who abuse the system – 150,000 ineligible claims blocked, £500million recovered last year, HMRC taskforce is expected to recover an additional £1billion of taxpayers’ money.”

HMRC boss Jim Harra admitted last year that all the money would likely never be returned.

He told the Financial Times: “We will not be able to recover it all.

“You will reach a point of diminishing returns in terms of good use of resources.

“These are time-limited schemes.

“We do need to put them to bed at some stage and move on from them.

“And 2022/23 is the year for which our plans go up [to].

“Whether there’s anything that goes on beyond that will depend, I think, on what we find and the rate of return that we’re getting.”


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