While the refund will go some way in helping UK leaders deal with the coronavirus crisis, the figure is paltry compared to the £ 3.5 billion officials believe was paid in error or to fraudsters.
Data released by HM Revenue and Customs shows that 80,433 companies have returned £ 215,756,121 as of September 15, according to a Freedom of Information request sent by PA Media.
Some employers returned the money sent to them, while others requested smaller payments in subsequent funding rounds.
A total of £ 35.4 billion has been paid as part of the coronavirus job retention program.
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A spokesperson for HMRC said: “HMRC welcomes employers who have voluntarily returned the Coronavirus Job Retention Program grants to HMRC because they no longer need the grant, or have realized that they made mistakes and took our advice to fix things. ”
The companies that have given back are Ikea, Barratt, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Bunzl.
During the lockdown, employees received 80% of their wages while they stayed at home, with the government reimbursing employers.
Unions called for extend the leave program in order to avoid a “tsunami of job losses”.
The HMRC spokesperson added: “To combat the impact of the pandemic on jobs, businesses and people’s livelihoods, the government has introduced one of the most generous and generous support programs. comprehensive worldwide, including the coronavirus job retention program.
“So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Program has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK create 9.6 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods. “