Jo slams Government for tax credit incompetence

Jo has criticised the government’s handling of the tax credits system and the misery it has caused to families in East Dunbartonshire.

New figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats show that more than 2 million families in the UK have been repeatedly overpaid in the 5 years since tax credits were introduced.

The number of families repeatedly underpaid has risen 42% to almost 1m over the same period.

A staggering 50,000 families have been taken to court in pursuit of overpayments in the last three years.

Commenting, Jo said:

“The incompetence displayed in the Government’s management of the tax credits system beggars belief. Many of the families affected are already on modest incomes, and sudden demands for repayments can push them over the edge. I led a debate in Parliament to highlight the cases of many people in East Dunbartonshire who have suffered as a result of this problem, a video of which can be viewed on my website at

“The system is so complex that even those who are supposed to be administering it are struggling, leading to this catalogue of errors. Payments should be fixed for six months at a time so that overpayments can be avoided and so that people know exactly what money they will receive and when.”

  • The figures for 2007 and 2008 can be viewed by following the links below.
  • Repeat underpayments were up 42% in 2007-08, from 555,000 to 964,000. Repeat overpayments were up 15% in the same period, from 1.81m to 2.14m.
  • HMRC overpaid £1bn of tax credits to 1.3m families in 2007-08, i.e. to more than one in 5 families who claimed. The average overpayment last year was £749. Overpayments amount to over £7.7bn since April 2003.
  • HMRC underpaid £798m of tax credits to 1.2m families in 2007-08, with the average underpayment £617. Underpayments amount to over £2.89billion since April 2003.

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