Dr Julian Lewis: The Government are saying that fraudsters will still be relentlessly pursued. If, heaven forbid, the Minister ever had to implement such a scheme in the future, would he regard it as a satisfactory result to know that 99% of these huge sums of money went to the intended recipients?
[The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen): I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. He helpfully highlights that many of these grants and schemes were very effective in getting money to the right people in a timely way. I spoke earlier to an official from HMRC, who said,
“We managed to get some of the money out in six days. If we had spent more time designing in more verification, we could have made it watertight. That would have taken several months and many businesses would have gone to the wall.”
That was the dilemma we faced. I am not saying we got everything right, but it was certainly done in all good conscience to try to get the balance right.]