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More than £215m of furlough money returned to government

Written by on 21st September 2020

More than £215m in furlough payments have been returned to the government by employers.

While the reimbursement will go some way to helping the UK’s leaders with the management of the coronavirus crisis, the figure pales in comparison to the £3.5bn officials think was paid out in error or to fraudsters.
Data released by HM Revenue and Customs shows that 80,433 companies have sent back £215,756,121 as of 15 September, according to a Freedom of Information request sent by PA Media.

Some employers returned money sent to them, while others asked for smaller payments in subsequent rounds of funding.
A total of £35.4bn has been paid out as part of the coronavirus job retention scheme.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC welcomes those employers who have voluntarily returned coronavirus job retention scheme grants to HMRC because they no longer need the grant, or have realised they’ve made errors and followed our guidance on putting things right.”
Companies that have given back include Ikea, Barratt, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Bunzl.

During the lockdown, employees were paid 80% of their salaries while they stayed at home, with the government reimbursing employers.
There have been calls from trade unions to extend the furlough scheme in order to prevent a “tsunami of job losses”.

The HMRC spokesperson added: “To tackle the impact the pandemic had on people’s jobs, businesses and livelihoods, the government introduced one of the most generous and comprehensive packages of support in the world, including the coronavirus job retention scheme.
“So far, the coronavirus job retention scheme has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.6 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods.”

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