Recovering COVID loans is a winning policy

Small businesses who were struggling through Covid were encouraged to take out a Covid loan on very good terms with virtually no underwriting.

I am sure that most of these loans (including the one AgeWage took out) are being serviced properly. But the public perception is that many of the loans went straight into the back pocket of fraudsters who benefited from a lack of underwriting and have been able to fold their businesses and keep the cash.

It’s a winning policy for an incoming Chancellor to dig around for money that can and should be recovered. Delinquent loans are theft from the Exchequer and there is a great deal of disquiet among the working population that their peers have ripped them off.

I remember walking round a golf course car-park with a friend pointing to cars and vans that had been bought with Covid loans. My friend was incandescent that some owners had already given up on their payments.

The matter is even more sensitive because the pain of Covid is still with many families. That people were seen to exploit the illness is an affront. Reeves’ statement to the BBC shows she is  in touch with the national mood

Ms Reeves will tell the conference in Liverpool that just 2% of fraudulent Covid grants – “with every one of those cheques signed by Rishi Sunak as chancellor” – have been recouped.

She will promise to appoint a Covid corruption commissioner with full powers to take cases to court and “claw back every penny of taxpayers money that they can”.

“That money belongs in our NHS, it belongs in our schools, it belongs in our police – we want that money back,”

She sounds rather more in touch than her counterpart in parliament. We are left to draw the conclusion that the fraudulent grants and loans are an embarrassment to Rishi sunak who granted them.

They aren’t, they are an embarrassment to the nation and Reeves is right to ask for our money back.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Recovering COVID loans is a winning policy

  1. Byron McKeeby says:

    “Ms Reeves also proposed establishing an anti-corruption commissioner aimed at recovering money lost as a result of fraud and waste during the pandemic.”

    Yet another bureaucratic add-on solution, which may be less than successful because it can take a lot of professional costs to pursue unpaid debts.

    Debt recovery actions often result in headlines about court “win” decisions which seldom reflect how much will actually ever be recovered, net of costs.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    There is another view, that “helicopter money” supported spending during and after a pandemic lockdown, when a lot of activity came to a standstill. Such a policy with hindsight justified a very “diligent lite” approach to lending new money at the time.


  2. Tim Simpson says:

    Hello Henry,
    I was of the opinion that, at a recent Parliamentary Select Committee for Public Spending, the Commissioner for the Inland Revenue said they did not have the facilities to go ‘chasing after’ those who had claimed a Loan but were not repaying. The financial press were not silent at the very outset that ‘loans’ would be seen as a Grant.

    Added to that is the situation of those PPE suppliers who were ‘fast tracked’ by the Government and whose profits are, reportedly, astonishing. The NHS is purchasing items all the time and would probably have done it far more economically, as they did with other aspects of the CoVid infection.

    Last week the PM ceases the HS2 project writing-off ‘£40 billion or so’. So far there is no outcry and it remains to be seen whether Labour make any reference to it in Liverpool. At that figure/loss, it should surely justify a Public Enquiry. If, as is written elsewhere, it was all a known ‘white elephant’ why didn’t the Parliamentary Select Committees step-in soonest? Perhaps such ‘savings’ and further minimising of the Civil Service will easily fund the cessation of the Inheritance Tax in time for the next Election.

    I agree with you that ‘…there is a great deal of disquiet among the working population that their peers have ripped them off.’ There are also those who have retired who are equally critical of that also.

    Kind regards,

    Tim Simpson

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