£1.1bn worth of BBL fraud suspected

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has reported over £1.1 billion worth of suspected fraud in the Government’s coronavirus bounce-back loan (BBL) scheme during the first six months of the scheme being introduced.

In a letter to the PAC, Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of the British Business Bank, revealed that almost 27,000 suspicious loan applications had been rejected by lenders since the scheme’s launch in May.

The PAC heard evidence that take-up of the scheme was “larger than expected”, with lenders issuing over £60 billion in coronavirus loans for business.

The scheme was announced in April to provide financial support to businesses across the UK that have seen their cashflow disrupted due to the pandemic, and offers between £2,000 to £50,000 in loans.

The news comes as last month, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned that significant amounts of taxpayers’ money could be lost to fraud linked to the scheme.

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