Buoyant firms return £1.3 billion furlough cash to Treasury

28th September 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or furlough, closes at the end of September and has benefited millions of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government subsidising wages has helped to preserve businesses, retain jobs and make sure skills were not lost to the economy.

According to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it was the right thing to do at the height of the pandemic, when health restrictions were in place, helping to protect lives and livelihoods.

There has been an added bonus, with £1.3 billion being returned to the Treasury, according to new statistics. This came from businesses buoyed by the UK economy opening up again and an increase in business for many during the lockdowns, like supermarkets.

Fraudsters target by taskforce

In addition, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been cracking down on fraudulent furlough claims through its Taxpayer Protection Taskforce. It consists of 1,250 staff and has a £100 million budget.

As more and more people returned, 340,000 went back to work in July, the £1.3bn repaid came through adjustments to claims and the voluntary disclosure service, which will continue into 2022.

Mr Sunak said: “This Government stepped in to help when people needed it most, supporting nearly 12 million jobs through furlough. This worked, nearly two million fewer people are now expected to be out of work in the UK than previously feared.

“Now with our recovery underway, it is heartening to see that £1.3 billion in furlough grants have been returned as the economy recovers.”

The furlough scheme has protected nearly 12 million jobs and supported more than 1.3 million businesses, with 910,000 jobs in Scotland protected, 470,000 jobs in Wales and 280,000 in Northern Ireland.

Returning payments

If you’re an employer who has claimed too much, or you’d like to make a voluntary repayment because you do not want or need the grant, you can either:

  •  correct it in your next claim (your new claim will be reduced and you’ll need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
  •  get a payment reference number and pay HMRC back within 30 days (only if you’re not correcting it in your next claim)

Speak to your accountant who can assist in these matters.

The CJRS closes on 30 September and employers need to make their September claims by 14 October.