‘Tackle fraud to save £30bn a year’: Lord Agnew says Government could slash tax rises by cracking down on crooks who take taxpayers’ money

  • The Government could slash taxes if it tackled the annual £30bn fraud bill
  • The fraudulent Covid business loans were enough to make Lord Agnew leave government 
  • The level of fraud is “so severe” that he feels it necessary to resign  

Fraud is costing taxpayers £30billion a year but the Government could slash taxes if it tackles the problem, a former Treasury minister said yesterday.

Lord Agnew quit his post this week, blasting ministers’ handling of fraudulent Covid business loans. Yesterday he criticised the ‘complete lack of focus’ in Whitehall about the cost of fraud to the taxpayer. 

He said the Government’s failure to do enough on fraud is ‘so egregious and the need for remedy so urgent’ he felt the only option was to ‘smash some crockery’ by quitting.

Lord Agnew of Oulton, pictured, resigned from his role as Treasury minister on Monday in protest against the level of fraud associated with Covid business loans

Lord Agnew, Oulton (pictured) resigned as Treasury Minister on Monday to protest the fraud in Covid business loans 

Lord Agnew walked out of government after providing a statement to the House of Lords

After making a statement before the House of Lords, Lord Agnew left government 

‘Fraud in government is rampant. Public estimates sit at just under £30billion a year. There is a complete lack of focus on the cost to society, or indeed the taxpayer,’ he wrote in the Financial Times.

The Government is under pressure to rethink the national insurance contributions hike in April, set to raise £12billion a year.

Although it was originally intended to finance health and social services, the majority of the money will be used to clear the NHS backlog in the first three year.

This rise will be in effect at the same time that families are facing huge increases in their energy bills and council taxes. Lord Agnew told the Lords on Monday: ‘Action taken today would give this Government a sporting chance of cutting income tax before a likely May 2024 election.’

According to his comments, if the government was able to combat fraud within its ministries, then the Treasury would be able pay for the social care system and get rid of the backlog.

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘Fraud is totally unacceptable and we’re taking action on multiple fronts to crack down on anyone who has sought to exploit our schemes and bring them to justice.’