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£11.8bn of taxpayers’ money lost to fraud due to flaws in Tories' Covid support schemes

Average of £420 per household lost, the equivalent of more than a month’s worth of food.

THE amount lost to fraud through flaws in Covid support schemes is enough to save each household in Britain almost £420, a Labour analysis revealed yesterday.

Research published by the House of Commons Library in March showed a central estimate of £11.8 billion of taxpayers’ money lost to fraud and error through the government’s business support schemes.

As families continue to feel the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, the total amount of taxpayer funds wasted through fraud and error equates to £419.93 for every household in Britain, Labour said.

According to upper estimates, the amount lost could be as high as £580 per household.

The wasted money is equivalent to more than a month’s worth of food for a family or over six tanks of fuel.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Had the Conservatives not been so wasteful with public funds, they would not need to raise taxes on working people during a cost-of-living crisis.

“Labour will treat taxpayers’ money with respect and make Britain work for working people.

“We have put forward a sensible, costed, practical plan that would give people real help right now — the government must now hold an emergency Budget to enact these plans and make a material difference to the millions of pensioners and working people feeling the crunch from the crisis.”

Meanwhile Covid-19 infections are now at their lowest level since before Christmas, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

But Asthma and Lung UK has warned that the number of people seeking help for long Covid has doubled as NHS services are failing to meet demand.

The charity has called for more investment into research and staffing for long Covid clinics to help people get their lives back on track.

Chief executive Sarah Woolnough said: “As we near the grim milestone of two million people living with long Covid, there is still a dismal lack of treatments for this disabling condition which is leaving people fighting for breath and devastating every aspect of their life, health, work and relationships.

“Coupled with a lack of support and long wait times for specialist care, hundreds of thousands of people are turning to charities like Asthma and Lung UK, desperate for vital advice and support.

“With cases only rising, the problem is not going to go away.”

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