Commenting on the guilty pleas by employees of taxpayer-funded employment scheme, A4E in Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart said: “This outcome has vindicated my consistent complaints about the way in which this company operated. The government was billed for work that was not carried out or was for people who did not exist.
“I reported the company to the National Audit Office and the Serious Fraud Office. The corrupt operations at the Slough office are probably repeated elsewhere, and although other prosecutions are pending I doubt that we know the extent of fraud in A4E whose UK operations are taxpayer funded.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions should now tell parliament what action he plans to take to make sure that this criminal behaviour is not continuing in other parts of this company which are still claiming to support people into employment. It is not only the taxpayer which has suffered loss, but also many people who were referred to a company which failed to provide them with a route into work and allowed a criminal culture to thrive in its Slough office.
Fiona then raised the issue with the Prime Minister during this week’s Prime Minister’s question time:
Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): When, on 22 February 2012, I asked the Prime Minister about fraud at A4e, a company working with jobseekers, he told me that he was waiting for the truth before he would act. This week’s guilty pleas by A4e staff reveal a culture of fraud in that company. Is not the list of taxpayer-funded fraudsters—Serco, G4S, A4e—getting too long? When is it going to stop?
The Prime Minister: The hon. Lady makes an important point. The answer I would give is that instead of bandying around names of companies, where many people in them will be working hard to do a good job, what we should do is investigate wrongdoing properly and make sure that cases are properly taken to court, as this case clearly was.