The embattled firm owned by David Cameron'​s former '​back-to-work'​ tsar Emma Harrison has been handed two new state contracts worth up to £​30million.

The Skills Funding Agency quango last night confirmed that A4e has been appointed to run prison education programmes in London and the east of England, even though it is facing a string of fraud accusations.

The decision came despite an announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions last week that it has launched an inquiry into ten welfare-to-work contracts operated by A4e.

The DWP warned it would cancel all of its contracts if it uncovered evidence of systemic fraud.

The firm, owned by Mrs Harrison, the Prime Minister'​s former adviser on troubled families, is already facing investigation by the police. The Serious Fraud Office has also faced calls to look into the claims.

Yesterday'​s decision by the SFA, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, provoked anger.

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