Fraud, companies worry over millions on leave | News

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Hundreds of companies formed after the government’s permit scheme was established have claimed up to £26.6m from the taxpayer. Times has learned.

Many of these claims are made by “off the shelf” companies that can be set up cheaply and have opaque corporate structures.

The use of such companies to claim emergency pandemic funds will likely be scrutinized by a new team at HM Revenue & Customs, which has been ordered to collect £1 billion in fraudulent or erroneous claims.

analysis by Times Official data show that 7,000 companies registered at just five addresses in London applied for the permit scheme between last December and June. During that time, they claimed up to £473m between them.

About 340 companies