Thousands of construction firms suspected of pandemic loans fraud

The scale of construction fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic has been revealed in data released by the British Business Bank (BBB).

The figures were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act probe and show that 4,825 loans across two relief schemes are suspected of being fraudulently claimed within the construction sector.

When the pandemic struck, the Government created emergency loan schemes which offered businesses financial support. The measures were designed to ensure banks lent money to businesses despite the severe restrictions affecting their trade.

They were:

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offered loans of up to £5 million for businesses with a turnover under £45 million. The loans were 80 per cent backed by the Government.
  • The Coronavirus Larger Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) extended the standard CBILS approach to larger businesses.
  • The Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) offered up to £50,000 or 25 per cent of turnover, with streamlined application procedures and a 100 per cent Government guarantee.

Of the total of suspected fraud cases, 4,792 relate to the BBLS.

The three schemes closed at the end of March 2021. They were replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme in April 2021. It is expected to run until 2024.

The pandemic meant businesses in all areas of the economy had to adapt to new ways of working, and paying off loans, while at the same time exploring business grants and future loans for growing the business.

Seek professional help

Accountants can offer expert advice in key areas, including testing ideas, warning of potential risks and advising on managing growth. Rapid growth can cause unexpected problems in areas like staffing and customer satisfaction. An accountant has the expertise to help you react quickly and effectively and make rapid growth a smooth process.


There are numerous grant schemes run by the Government, local councils, charities and commercial organisations. Many grants are aimed at specific industries or regions and range from a cash sum to discounts on equipment, such as money off broadband installation.

  • Bank business loan
  • Government-backed Start Up Loan
  • Short-term business loan
  • Peer-to-peer business loan
  • Cash advances

The accountant also will be able to provide sound advice on how to present your case to lenders to fund your growth policy.

Need help with growing your business? Contact our team today.

Blog right caret

Adapting your business plan for the summer


Tax implications to consider for business owners when paying themselves 


Research and Development tax relief changes 


Business right caret

Small business confidence dips ahead of new customs controls coming into force

Four in 10 exporters have reported a fall in international sales since the end of the Brexit transition period, a major study has revealed. According to the tracker, four in 10 – around 41 per cent of traders – have reported a “drop off” in international sales in the three months to September 2021.


Large number of businesses looking to recruit more staff

It is perhaps a sign of confidence returning to the UK economy that a significant number of British businesses believe they will be recruiting staff over the coming year.


Spring Statement 2022 summary

Mr Sunak found himself addressing MPs against a background of crisis, with the residual impact of COVID, the invasion of Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis all affecting the economy in different ways.


Cloud right caret

Cloud-powered accounting: Advancing beyond traditional cloud accounting systems


Compliance right caret

HMRC asks sole traders to correctly report SEISS grants or “repay in full”

Sole traders who have not correctly reported their Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants may be forced to repay them in full, it has been warned.


Making Tax Digital – what you need to know ahead of 2022-23

From April 2022 all VAT-registered businesses need to comply with MTD for VAT. MTD applies to taxpayers who file Income Tax Self Assessments for business or property income of more than £10,000


Real-time online sanctions tracker to assist importers and exporters

Any business involved in international trade, whether importing, exporting or part of the supply chain supply to those firms, is faced with a rapidly changing regulatory environment.


Economy right caret

Small businesses call for Government support to tackle climate change

According to new research, many are addressing energy usage, increasing recycling and investing in microgeneration, but only a third of those have a formal plan to tackle climate change within their business.


Hospitality bosses develop new strategies to cope with staff shortages

Hospitality business owners have responded positively to the staff shortages caused by the pandemic, by increasing wages and implementing improved staff retention strategies.


Everything you need to know about the new WTO Services Domestic Regulation

New World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules are set to cut the cost of global trade by billions of pounds every year, it has been announced.


SME right caret

Adapting your business plan for the summer


Research and Development tax relief changes 


Late payments – why they are so damaging to small businesses and how to deal with them


Tax right caret

Understanding tax obligations for charities


Navigating estate planning and Inheritance Tax: what you need to know


Tax considerations for small business owners: Sole traders vs limited companies 


Tax Planning right caret

Almost 800,000 tax scams reported to HMRC in past 12 months, figures reveal

Nearly 800,000 tax-related scams were reported to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the past 12 months, a major study has revealed. According to the report, HMRC responded to 797,010 referrals of suspicious contact from the public in the last year. Around 358,000 of these involved scams where taxpayers were offered bogus tax rebates.

Tax Planning

Be aware of tax liabilities if you are using cryptocurrencies

For those who have dabbled in the market, its important for them to understand that there may be tax liabilities with Captial Gains Tax and Income Tax, with any transactions whether with currency or other crypto assets.

Tax Planning

Did you use a Bounce Back Loan to cover personal expenses during the pandemic? Act now to avoid tax consequences

If you received a Bounce Back Loan (BBL) during the coronavirus pandemic and took the cash as drawings, there may be additional tax consequences.

Tax Planning

VAT right caret

Paper VAT registration to be abolished in latest digital move

In the latest move in their Making Tax Digital (MTD) campaign, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is removing paper VAT registration from 13 November 2023.