Who oversees the work of trying to recoup the approximate £4.5 billion lost in bounce back loan fraud in the UK since March 2020?
The National Audit Office (NAO) generally oversees the efforts of the various agencies that have been tasked with recovering as much of this money as possible.
One of the newer agencies that have joined the effort is the National Investigation Service (Natis).
Natis have received £6 million from the government to fund their work over three years but the NAO think they should receive even more. NAO said they found the decision to withhold further funding baffling as the government had already acknowledged that for every £1 they invested in Natis, they would recover £8 for the taxpayer.
The agency had already received more than 2,100 intelligence reports by last October to act on but with limited funds and resources they will be constrained by what they can do.
Two lenders have shown that nearly half of applications they received for bounce back loans had not been trading before March 2020 when the scheme opened indicating that they were opened exclusively to take advantage of the borrowing.
There is also the issue of which other agencies are involved in tracking down and discovering fraud.
By the latest estimates there are 16 different agencies responsible in part for uncovering bounce back loan fraud. These include Natis, the National Crime Agency, various local and regional police forces and the Insolvency Service.
To this already crowded field there is another big player being added. The chancellor announced the creation of the Public Sector Fraud Authority which will officially launch in July. It will have four times the budget of Natis and include economic crime investigators and forensic data analytics expenses.
The authority will support existing investigations and prosecutions launched by other agencies rather than their own cases.
Another front in the battle is being resisted by the British Business Bank who campaigners don’t think are doing enough to combat fraud.
Lord Agnew, who resigned earlier this year as a Justice Minister, is attending a tribunal as an expert witness in a case brought against the BBB by Spotlight on Corruption.
The group is pushing for the bank to release details of all bounce back loan borrowers which they are currently refusing as they say it would harm sensitive commercial interests.
Lord Agnew said: “This mishandling is going to remain in the public domain for years, with anyone associated with it shredded by a thousand humiliations.
“Someone with some courage in government needs to do the right thing and open up the data. It will force the pace and make things happen.”
One thing for certain is that bounce back loan debts are not going away – as long as fraud cases remain in the headlines.
Any business that has an outstanding bounce back loan that it’s having difficulty repaying should get some professional advice from some experts – BusinessRescueExpert!
They will be able to let them know what options they will have to strengthen and protect their business or close down efficiently without any debts following them – including a bounce back loan.
The circumstances are different for every business but the earlier they get in touch generally the more options they will have to choose from.
- Peter has been reporting about business trends and insights for several years and provides the best biz digs to keep business owners and workers informed and educated.