Fraud and Inflation - a Headline Writer's Dream

Posted on May 11, 2023. by NTI

We in the NTI newsroom kept people late to report the latest interest rate changes and, in the end, discovered news of them has been usurped by the that of a report on business fraud that has been delayed by almost three years.

But let's start with the most predictable story of the day. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee still feel we and our economy are too hot to be left alone and, in line with the Fed in US and the ESC in the EU, raised UK interest rates by (yet) another 0.25 percentage points this afternoon (Thursday 11 May). This is the 12th consecutive rise, which must make it almost a year since the Committee left the rate alone.

This is all because inflation is still stuck above the Bank of England’s forecasts, coming in at 10.1 per cent in March rather than the 9.8 per cent in its February projections. Andrew Bailey, a man of whatever word he chooses for the day, is still confident of a sharp fall in inflation numbers, starting this month, but Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor, a woman of many words, spoke from her position on the back of a bandwagon blaming today's squally showers, Manchester United's recent away form, the boogie and the interest rate figures on those nasty Conservatives. We asked Sir Kier for a statement, but he was at the dry cleaners picking up his suit.

Now for the real news of the day. A report just out, written by the Home Office in 2020, but only published at the end of last week, says that one in five UK companies fell victim to fraud between 2018 and 2020 but the majority did not report it to the police. This is according to an extensive Government survey of thousands of businesses.

The data concludes that all of the companies in the seven industries - including retail, construction and financial services - would have suffered about 4.5 million incidents of fraud between 2018 and 2023.

The Home Office said it was “absolutely committed to cracking down on scams”, so much so that it was too pre-occupied to do something unimportant such as releasing reports about the scams it was absolutely committed to cracking down on. Also, it continued “to work intensively with partners across Government, law enforcement and industry to protect the public and businesses from fraud”.

Emily Thornberry, shadow attorney-general and the NTI newsroom's favourite shadow minister, has written to Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ask why the strategy did not include data on the value of company losses to fraud and the hundreds of thousands of business frauds going unrecorded by police. Ms Braverman did not proffer an answer, although muttered something about 'Rwanda'.

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