Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, is demanding the Government to bring forward the Economic Crime Bill to tackle fraud and corruption as it was revealed last week the Treasury wrote off £4.3 billion paid out in fraud and error under Covid support schemes. This is equal to £154 written off for each of the 27.8 million households in the UK.
Lord Agnew, the Government’s own anti-fraud Minister, has resigned in protest at the “arrogance, indolence and ignorance” of the Government on the issue of fraud. Total fraud losses across the Government are estimated at a shocking £29 billion each year.
The Conservative Government has been squandering public money on projects that do not benefit the taxpayer, from Liz Truss spending £500k on flights to Australia, to spending £2.8 billion on 1.9 million pieces of PPE that were ultimately useless, and spending billions of taxpayers money on Covid contracts awarded to Tory-linked firms.
The Labour Party held an Opposition Day Debate in Parliament this week, calling on the Government to vote to allow the National Crime Agency to investigate these astronomical levels of fraud, and for them to come back with an update on the amount of taxpayers funds they’ve clawed back from criminals by the end of March.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“Restoring public finances is a vital task – but following revelations of the total fraud loss across the Government we can’t trust the Conservative’s to treat taxpayers’ money with respect. People shouldn’t have to pay for a Tory tax rise, adding to the cost of living crisis, when billions are being wasted to fraud or spent to correct government mistakes.
“A Labour Government would make sure we get value for every penny spent, starting by setting up an independent Office for Value for Money to scrutinise government spending and ensure taxpayers’ cash is being spent well.
“This Government has an appalling record on fraud, repeatedly showing a lack of respect for public money. Taxpayers in Bristol South deserve more from the Government, instead of being made to pay for their errors and lack of action to tackle fraud.
“The Government must end it’s flagrant disregard for taxpayers money and implement strict laws to end more fraud happening under their watch.”