DOUGLAS Chapman MP has accused the Prime Minister of betraying a commitment to recover billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money stolen through coronavirus support schemes.

Last month, he urged Boris Johnson to set up a dedicated fraud squad to claw back cash paid to fraudsters during the pandemic.

The PM said action would be taken against “anybody who’s defrauded any of the Covid loans, bounce back loans or otherwise”.

However, it has been reported that the Treasury has now written off £4.3 billion out of the £5.8 billion that was stolen from its emergency COVID-19 schemes.

That means only £1 will be recovered for every £4 that was stolen.

Mr Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “It’s staggering to hear just how much money the government has given up on recovering from criminals.

“This comes just a month after the PM claimed his government would pursue ‘anybody’ who had defrauded the taxpayer during the pandemic.

“Boris Johnson has now effectively betrayed that commitment, at a time when communities are crying out for cash to recover from COVID.

“I cannot understand how a government that will pursue every penny from families who’ve received a tiny benefits overpayment could abandon all hopes of recovering so much money lost to criminals.

“I will be seeking to raise this with the PM to ensure every effort is made to get this missing £4.3bn back.”