SPAN Stops The Threats
We are claiming a victory in our HMRC “Stop The Threats” campaign, which was run in partnership with Dawn Primarolo MP (Bristol South) and Kerry McCarthy MP (Bristol East) earlier this year.
Single parents eligible for Tax Credits have been contacting SPAN's support staff to complain of threatening letters received from HMRC via international business services company Concentrix. The letters suggested that there was evidence that recipients were guilty of claiming more than they were entitled to. Concentix required claimants to provide exhaustive evidence and original documents, and many people encountered delays and were given wrong advice when they rang the helpline number that was provided.
SPAN agrees that HMRC should work to prevent fraudulent claims, but objects to the threatening approach. Evidence was collected and a campaign was begun to “Stop The Threats” to recipients, many of whom are already struggling financially.
In response to our petition, HMRC and Concentrix have agreed to change how they contact Tax Credits recipients:
Philip Cassidy (Managing Director - Services Europe for Concentrix) promised to tackle long waiting times on the helplines, and Nick Lodge (Director General of HMRC’s Executive Committee) said, "We certainly don't mean to worry people unnecessarily or to cause undue concern through the tone of our letters - in fact we have reviewed these in light of comments from customers."
SPAN staff will continue to monitor how HMRC communicates with single parents.