The SNP has demanded urgent action over the much-delayed economic crime bill after Lord Agnew’s resignation letter highlighted plans to further delay it, despite earlier promises from the Tories to take action.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Treasury resigned earlier this week after it was revealed that £4.3 billion of £5.8 billion stolen public money from COVID emergency support schemes was lost by the Treasury.
The party’s Shadow Chancellor, Alison Thewliss MP, said the cost to the taxpayer in economic crime is “more than just a number” and warned that real people are suffering while billions are thrown down the drain.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP (pictured) said:
“The cost to the taxpayer in economic crime and stolen public money is more than just a number on a piece of paper, it comes at the cost of welfare support, NHS investment and vital public services.
“Despite this it seems clear the Tories will keep kicking the can down the road, allowing tens of billions to fall out the pocket of the Treasury and into the hands of criminals.
“Millions of hard-working people were excluded entirely from financial support during the pandemic, we were told there was no money available to support certain groups yet, as Lord Agnew pointed to in his resignation, the Tories could even cut taxes if fraudsters were successfully pursued.
“If finances are in such a bad shape why are the Tories’ not chasing every penny that was lost?
“That a government would purposely cut benefits and support to the most vulnerable in the middle of a pandemic and exclude millions from any support whatsoever, all while turning a blind eye to crooks and fraudsters, is reprehensible.
“The UK Government could have fixed many of the issues years ago had they brought forward a bill and tightened up Companies House, instead here we are watching as our money goes down the drain – all at the cost of support for real people.”