Jo shock at spiralling tax credit complaints

Complaints about the tax credits hotline have risen 133% in three years

Jo Swinson has slammed the Government’s tax credits system, as new figures show a huge rise in complaints.

Figures obtained by Jo Swinson through Parliamentary Questions show that the number of complaints made to the Government’s tax credits helpline rose by 133% from 2004 to 2007. While 895 complaints were received in 2004/05, by 2006/07 the figure rose to 2091.

Commenting on the findings, Jo said:

“These figures show a huge rise in the number of complaints about child tax credits and working tax credits. Complaints have spiralled by a staggering 133% since 2004 – despite the Government being aware of the problems with tax credits, the service is clearly getting worse, not better, in the eyes of the public.

“It is no surprise the public are fed up with the system. The Government has built a vastly complex, overblown tax credits regime, which even its own officials can’t manage properly. Just last month, latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs confirmed that £14bn has been lost to fraud and error since tax credits were introduced five years ago.

“Mistakes in the system mean that families are facing a financial rollercoaster when they are forced to pay back money because of official errors. In the worst case I have come across in East Dunbartonshire, a resident was overpaid by £5,300, then told that the money had to be repaid within one year.

“The only way to stop this rocketing level of complaints is to overhaul the system. Tax credits must be made simpler, with a return to fixed awards, straightforward administration and an end to the headache of overpayments for families feeling the pinch.”

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