Coronavirus

PwC to examine fraud in Covid loan scheme

The government’s loan programme was initiated to help small businesses survive the pandemic

PwC has been chosen by the government-owned British Business Bank (BBB) to investigate possible fraud cases in its own Covid-19 loan scheme.

The BBB is a development bank, which aims to increase the supply of credit to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as providing business advice services.

In the summer of 2020, PwC was hired alongside other Big Four firms, notably KPMG and Deloitte, to accelerate government-backed lending to impacted businesses during the pandemic.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of the BBB, has said 26,933 fraudulent loan applications had been detected by October 2020, with a value of £1.1bn.

Figures released by HMRC in September revealed that up to £3.5bn furlough claims have been fraudulent

A British Business Bank spokesperson said: “We take the issue of fraud very seriously, and have worked alongside the government fraud prevention services, fraud bureaux and the banking and alternative finance sectors to put in place additional measures to further mitigate fraud and credit risks. 

“These include checks for duplicate applications, additional flags for fraudulent activity, and establishing a Fraud Prevention Collaboration Working Group to share best practice and explore, design and implement further solutions.”

They added: “We have recently appointed PwC as consultants to provide further insight into where fraud is being committed or attempted, helping to identify where further resources are required as well as enabling additional fraud-prevention measures to be put in place.”

PwC has been contacted for comment.

 

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