On 6 July 2021 in a written question to the Treasury, Gregory Campbell MP asked the below question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2021 to Question 22225 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Fraud, how many (a) employers and (b) employees have received payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and how many investigations into fraudulent abuse are underway but have not yet reached the stage of being considered for potential prosecution.Gregory Campbell MP (DUP) 6 July 2021
In response, Jesse Norman MP – Financial Secretary to HM Treasury said:
A total of 1.3 million employers have claimed under the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, CJRS) and 11.6 million employments have been put on furlough for at least part of the duration of the scheme. These figures are based on CJRS claims received by HMRC up to 14 June 2021.
Employees may be on furlough from more than one employment, in which case they would appear in these statistics for each job from which they are on furlough.
HMRC have opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments due to error or fraud as of 30 June. This figure refers to any cases open where HMRC believe there has been fraud or an error which requires HMRC intervention.Jesse Norman MP (Con) 12 July 2021
This goes to show that compliance activity from HMRC will have a big impact on payroll teams across the UK. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a difficult one to comply with 100% due to constantly changing guidance.
It’s important for payroll professionals across the UK to audit their claims and make sure they have the evidence of the guidance they were working from at the time.