The Committee of Public Accounts, led by Meg Hillier MP are Gleeful “Lessons Have Been Learned” By the Government About the Bounce Back Loan Scheme Proven by Making the Recovery Loan Scheme Much Harder for Businesses to Access! Lovely…

Whilst many in the country were glued to the telly watching Prince Harry’s High Court exploits or having a go at Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield the Committee of Public Accounts, led by Meg Hillier MP dropped their Seventh Annual Report.

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I doubt they spent much time putting it together as it does look like the report was written on the back of a cigarette packet.

However, this is what they had to say about the Bounce Back Loan scheme, and they do appear gleeful the Government has learned lessons about the way they designed the BBL scheme and have put those lessons learned into the design of the Recovery Loan scheme which very few business owners are eligible for.

This is what they have said about BBL’s in their report:

The Government introduced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to provide businesses with loans to maintain their financial health during the pandemic.

In December 2022, the Committee revisited the performance of the scheme.

Before the Department was restructured, BEIS made slow progress in addressing fraud on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, and in December the Committee heard that of an estimated £2.2 billion lost to fraud and error, the Department had only recovered £10 million.

Additionally, the Government does not expect to recoup nearly £1 billion, mostly lost to error, in local authority administered grant payments.

BEIS did not liaise with the Cabinet Office counter-fraud function until well after the scheme launched.

The National Investigation Service has been provided with £13.2 million for counter-fraud activities, much lower than the DWP’s £613 million investment in counter fraud.

It’s encouraging that the Department seems to have learnt some lessons in designing the pandemic Recovery Loan Scheme and recent energy support schemes, but it is important that such lessons are bedded in for the long term, especially by the new departments which succeed BEIS.