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Leeds City Council papers have shown 74 cases of Covid business support fraud where more than £1 million were claimed as fraudulent Covid business support grants.
The Council papers identified a total amount of £1,078,393.29 to be lost to Covid business support fraud. To date, the amount recovered from this sum equals only £695,294.87.
It was found that companies completed “all checks possible” upon receiving the applications, but due to time limitations and Covid restrictions, individual visits to the companies were not practically possible.
On Thursday, 17th February 2022, the report from the Leeds City Council will be presented before the Council’s Infrastructure Scrutiny Board.
The report says that the identification and recovery of the fraudulently claimed grants is an “ongoing process” in correlation with the council’s internal audit team, the respective government agencies, the police, and other relevant local authorities.
The Covid business support grand scheme was initiated to assist Leeds-based businesses that could provide evidence that their revenues had been adversely affected during the time of the Covid pandemic.
According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the council has administered a total of 12,058 grants, which sum up to £22.3 million.
The large-scale Covid business support fraud has led the council to take preventive measures. From now on, the council will require businesses to submit bank statements, along with a copy of the applicant’s identity card, proof of all bank accounts, and proof of fixed costs.
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