The Transport Secretary was grilled by Sky News’ Kay Burley on the fact hundreds of employers have been taking Government money while pressuring their staff to carry on working. Mr Shapps stated that furlough fraud is a criminal offence and called on employees to ring a Government hotline and report their employers if this is the case at their workplace.
Ms Burley said: “Furlough fraud, hundreds of employers have been taking Government money while pressuring their staff to carry on working.
“What advice would you give to those workers?
“Should they ring the hotline and say this is what I am being forced to do?”
Mr Shapps replied: “I think most employees and employers have responded admirably.
“Of course in any scheme around the edges, there may be people trying to abuse it.
“That would be a criminal offence so employees will do the right thing I am sure when that type of thing happens.
“You can’t be claiming Government money while not furloughing staff and making them work.
“That would be completely against the rules of this scheme and HMRC would have something to say about that.”
Yesterday the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the furlough scheme will be extended by four months.
Mr Sunak, who put the cost at £8billion a month, said last night: “This is an expensive scheme but I also believe it’s absolutely the right thing to do.
“What’s very clear to me is that the cost of not doing this for society, for our economy, for our country, would be far higher and I am simply not going to give up on all these people, the seven million people.
“I want to provide as much support as I can to ensure that they have those jobs to go back to at the end of this.”