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View from the House: Launching a Covid fraud hotline

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 October 2020

Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster

Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster

Richard Townshend Photography

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To support people and businesses through the pandemic, the government has introduced over 150 Covid support schemes.

I know from speaking to constituents what a lifeline these schemes have been.

Nonetheless, I have also been concerned to see criminals try to manipulate and defraud the system.

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Given how hard people are working to pay their taxes and contribute to public services, I see it as a gross injustice fraudsters are taking advantage of measures.

Last week, in an initiative between government and the independent charity, Crimestoppers, I launched a new Covid Fraud Hotline which members of the public can call anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity.

While fraud is a hidden crime and can take time to be discovered, the public can still look out for telltale signs like unusual buying activity by companies and individuals, as well as cold calling by those falsely claiming that they are from the government, offering money for schemes.

The Covid Fraud Hotline is open 24/7, 365 days a year on 0800 587 5030 or people can fill in the simple and secure anonymous form at Covidfraudhotline.org.

My team and I have also been busy in the constituency, launching our first ever virtual jobs fair to showcase immediate vacancies with local employers including Network Rail, British Transport Police and UPS.

We are pleased that our constituency has been able to secure £245 000 in grant funding for Queen’s Theatre from a new Culture Recovery Fund, and I have been working with the Havering Association for People with Disabilities (HAD) and First Step to share with central government the experiences of disabled adults and children through these difficult months.


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