Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Tax Credits

Half a million Universal Credit claimants hit by tax debt deduction.

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Universal credit: how to claim, and how much you will receive | Consumer  affairs | The Guardian

Half a Million of Them Hit by New Deductions.

But all is far from going well in Universal Credit land, and here’s a further reminder that the system does not just replace JSA and other benefits, but also includes that who used to receive Tax Credits. That is, people in work.

Half a million Universal Credit claimants shocked by sudden tax debt deduction

Carers and frontline workers among those targeted with many people unaware they even owed the money

Birmingham Live reports:

Around half a million people claiming Universal Credit or other benefits have been hit by a sudden tax deduction this year.

They have been targeted as the Government claws back tax credit overpayments from as far back as 17 years ago.

In response to a freedom of information request, the DWP revealed they had been docking payments to Universal Credit claimants because of tax credit overpayments at a rate of 47,000 cases per week this year – effectively wiping out the £20 a week boost given to Universal Credit recipients.

Cuts started on January 18 for people who had newly started claiming Universal Credit for the first time during the pandemic.

Many of the debts being chased are for thousands of pounds. The total amount owed in overpayment of tax credits is estimated to be £6 billion.

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For those still receiving tax credits, the money is taken out of that with 10 per cent to 50 per cent of a person’s payment cut to claw it back, depending on earnings.

For those only on the family element of Child Tax Credits, payments are slashed by 100 per cent, meaning income is stopped completely until the overpayments are cleared.

And for those no longer on tax credits but now on Universal Credit or other state benefits, the debt is taken from those payments. The Department for Work and Pensions can impose deductions on Universal Credit and other benefits to recover third-party debts to HMRC and other organisations.

Only 1 per cent of tax credit overpayments are a result of fraud or negligence by the recipient. In the majority of cases, it’s said to be due to system errors by the HMRC.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 15, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Tax Credit Company Concentrix, from Reign of Terror against Claimants, to Reign of Terror against Critics.

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Band of Terrorising Thieves Not Going Quietly.

Concentrix, whose contract was opposed by PCS members, was very quickly notorious.

This week the story got into the national papers.

It’s not often that something like this comes up and you hear, the next day, about somebody in Ipswich in the thick of the problem.

Last night somebody I know told me about a friend directly affected.

It is, as people can imagine, somebody in a really desperate plight.

Welfare Weekly reports,

‘Reign of terror’ tax credit company loses HMRC contract.

Frank Field, the chair of parliament’s welfare committee, has said that a company’s “reign of terror” over British tax credit recipients will be drawing to a close after HMRC decided not to renew its contract.

US company Concentrix was accused of making a string of mistakes including stopping a teenage single mum from receiving tax credits after wrongly claiming she was married to a dead pensioner.

Field had called on the government to investigate and act on concerns about Concentrix’s handling of tax credit claims.

Following HMRC’s decision not to sign a new contract with the company, Field said: “Concentrix’s reign of terror is drawing to a close. Again the government has acted decisively in protecting vulnerable Britain. This holds out huge prospects and, for some exploiters, horror, in the near future.”

The company won a multimillion pound payment by results contract to prevent incorrect or fraudulent claims in a bid to save government money, earning more money the more claims it stopped.

Now you’d think this would be the end of it.

But this band of thieves are not going quietly,

Private welfare contractor Concentrix blocks BBC programme on Twitter after exposé (Independent).

A private contractor running part of the benefits system has blocked a flagship BBC television programme on Twitter after the show ran a story about its alleged failures.

Concentrix – which has been accused of stopping innocent people’s tax credits – was the subject of an investigation by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday morning.

HMRC on Tuesday night announced that it wouldn’t renew Concentrix’s contract in May 2017 after a string of failures allegedly left people out of pocket.

On Wednesday morning the Victoria Derbyshire programme’s twitter account wrote: “That’ll teach us. Concentrix have blocked us after our exclusive tax credits story.”

The programme posted a screenshot of the company’s page showing they were blocked.

A Concentrix spokesperson defended the company’s record and said it had saved taxpayers £300m in fraud and error throughout the course of its contract.

Perhaps this is a related story (Independent):

Failing’ welfare contractor Concentrix will still be paid tens of millions before its contract runs out

The firm is being dropped by HMRC but not until May 2017.

The private contractor dropped by HMRC from running part of the tax credit system will still be paid tens of millions of pounds before its contract runs out, new figures show.

HMRC’s chief executive Jon Thompson said on Tuesday night the department it would not be extending Concentrix’s contract after a series of high profile failures regarding the non-payment of tax credits.

The contractor is supposed to root out fraud and error in the tax credit system, but reports suggest innocent people on low incomes are having their payments stopped, sometimes for no reason at all.

Figures obtained by Labour MP Louise Haigh show that Concentrix is failing on 120 out of 1625 minimum performance indicators set out in the contract – yet has still already been paid £15.8m in commission.

With the contract only set to end in May 2017 the company will still reap tens of millions of pounds in payments from the three-year contract – despite a so-called “payment by results” system. The total contract pays a total of between £55m and £75m depending on performance indicators met

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Cameron’s Plans Mean Poverty Assaults More People.

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David Cameron has vowed to devote much of his time in office to “an all-out assault on poverty”, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference.

The prime minister, who will stand down before the next election, said he wanted to tackle “deep social problems” and boost social mobility.

He also announced “dramatic” planning reforms to increase home ownership.

Reports the BBC. 

David Cameron’s assault on poverty doesn’t extend to the homeless.

13,850 households were accepted as homeless between April and June of this year.

Ryan Maynes.

It should be no surprise to anyone that the escalating issue of homelessness was barely mentioned during four days of rhetoric and self-congratulation at the Conservative party conference.

With the Tories having overseen the most savage cuts to the poorest in society in a generation, it was inevitable that homelessness would indeed be on the rise in Britain, and off the agenda of the Conservative Conference 2015.

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The number of people sleeping rough in Britain has risen 55 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, with London seeing the highest increase.

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Factor in the cuts to housing benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds, and the lack of a plan to tackle this crisis, and it may be a foregone conclusion that this increase is going to continue. Many more people will be sleeping rough in the capital and elsewhere over the course of this parliament.

Homelessness is clearly not high on the Conservative party’s agenda, and their attacks on welfare and housing have only confirmed this. Yesterday David Cameron promised an, ‘all out assault on poverty’, but his track record so far suggests that homelessness does not come under this remit.

Instead, Cameron launched his proposal to build 200,000 new starter homes, intended to ease the housing crisis. While this will help – insofar as there will be more homes in the country – it will have no impact on those in poverty.

The homelessness charity Shelter has suggested that only those households earning over £50,000, or £70,000 in London, will stand a chance of buying these houses. And of those on the new living wage in poorer areas? Only 2 per cent will find these new homes affordable.

Walking around Ipswich many people are struck by the number of people begging, saying they are homeless.

It is the same in many cities and towns, though I doubt if it’s the case in Cameron’s Constituency, Witney, Oxfordshire:

Tory conference: Cameron’s ‘assault on poverty’ pledge belied by new figures.

David Cameron’s promise during his address to the Conservative party conference that “an all-out assault on poverty” would be at the centre of his second term is undermined by a report that reveals planned welfare cuts will lead to an increase of 200,000 working households living in poverty by 2020.

The findings, published on Thursday by the Resolution Foundation, appear to contradict the prime minister’s vow to devote the second five years of his premiership to creating a “Greater Britain” marked by social reform, real equality and less racial discrimination.

In a speech that was clearly designed to respond to Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, Cameron sought to position his party as the dominant force on the centre ground of politics. The prime minister argued the best way to tackle the deep roots of poverty lay in getting people into better paid work.

The Conservatives, Cameron said, must live up to their great traditions of social reform and be the right party “for those who work hard, want to get on and want more money at the end of the month”. Insisting Britain was on the brink of something special, he claimed “hope is returning and we are moving into the light”, allowing the Conservatives to be seen as the “party of the fair chance, the party of the equal shot”.

But the new research by the Resolution Foundation – now chaired by former Conservative minister David Willetts – suggests the government’s welfare cuts introduced in the budget in a bid to cut the deficit will drive at least 200,000 working households into poverty under a definition that the government is abolishing.

These are the key points:

A further 200,000 children (predominantly from working households) will fall into poverty in 2016 simply as a result of the tax and benefit measures announced at the summer budget, including the increases in the national minimum wage.

The total number of working households in poverty will have reached 2 million in 2020.

The summer budget measures will lead to income falls of more than 4% in the bottom fifth of earners, contrasting with income rises of 4% for the top third.

The number of children in poverty in working and non-working households is estimated to reach up to 3.9 million by 2020. This is 1.2 million higher than the 2016-17 baseline and 600,000 higher than was projected for 2020 prior to the budget.

As the writer indicates:

Cameron made no direct mention of George Osborne’s controversial plans to cut tax credits, which will mean a loss of £1,000 for 3 million of the lowest-paid workers.

As for Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to get the disabled into work this is in the news today……

Too fat to work’ man has ‘collapsed with mini-stroke’ weeks after starting first job in four years.

Mirror. 

A man who claimed he was ‘too fat to work’ has collapsed just weeks after starting his first job in years, it has been claimed

Stephen Beer, who has high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, has suffered a mini stroke and is in hospital, according to The Sun.

Wife Michelle, 43, said he was “not well, but improving”.

 

Eu Migrant Plans to Hit Unemployed Young People as well as Working EU Citizens.

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Young People Again the Target of Tory Discrimination.

EU migrant benefit plan ‘could hit thousands of young Britons’.

Reports the BBC.

Thousands of young Britons could lose the right to claim some benefits for four years as part of government plans to tighten the rules for EU migrants.

Introducing a four-year residency test for migrants is a key part of the UK’s negotiations of its EU membership.

But lawyers say applying such a test to migrants alone would breach EU laws, and the government is now considering extending the rule to all UK benefit applicants, from the age of 18.

Ministers would not discuss the plans.

This is the crunch:

Why are Britons affected?

One option is to implement a four-year residency rule for all benefit claimants. This could mean Britons, even if they had lived in the UK all their lives, from their 18th birthday would be ineligible for the benefits for four years until they reach 22.

The changes would affect working tax credits and housing benefits. About 50,000 UK citizens under the age of 22 receive tax credits. Most of them have children. The proposal is currently being discussed by ministers and senior officials.

The Mirror adds,

Thousands of young people could be blocked from claiming tax credits and housing benefit so the Tories doesn’t have to pay them to EU migrants.

The Government wants to stop people coming to the UK claiming benefits until they’ve lived in the country for four years.

But EU rules prevent governments from discriminating against migrants, so ministers are considering extending the restrictions to British workers between 18 and 22.

It’s thought as many as 50,000 British workers will be affected – many of them young parents.

Labour warned most people would find the restrictions unacceptable.

Shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms said the Government should consider adopting the Opposition’s plan to restrict access to benefits for new migrants for two years rather than four years.

He said this would affect fewer people if a lack of treaty change during the renegotiation of the UK’s EU membership meant the restrictions also had to apply to Britons.

According to the BBC, without treaty change – which British officials have previously confirmed may not be in place by the time of the in/out referendum promised by the end of 2017 – the Government has had to consider plans which would extend the ban to Britons to prevent “direct discrimination”.

This is an example of what happens when you start on the path of discriminating between groups of people.

It is worth noting that migrants will be hit when working.

It is unacceptable that one group of workers will get less money than another.

And that’s before we see the knock-on effect on the young.