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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 21/11/2008 :  07:55:44  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Just a quick update. Letters went off in this order: Cameron, Clegg, Brown. David Cameron's letter has been passed to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne. Haven't heard from George Osborne yet. Nothing from the Lib Dems as yet. Brown's went off earlier this week, but no acknowledgement as yet. My guess is that it will go to Stephen Timms, the new Financial Secretary to the Treasury, but we will see.

Morpheus: They are the gatekeepers, they are guarding all the doors and holding all the keys.
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auntieh
Rank; Really should become a politician



United Kingdom
625 Posts

Posted - 21/11/2008 :  22:07:41  Show Profile Send auntieh a Private Message
Hi Ali

Copied your letter to Oh my gawd Brown to my MP a couple of weeks ago but not heard a peep. Nu Labour - never replies to anything I send these days.

Auntie

"You can dress a pig in a suit but you can't stop it grunting"
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2008 :  07:05:33  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
On Thursday I got this letter from 10 Downing Street:

Dear Ms Myers-Ward

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your recent letter about tax credits [the one above, setting out reasons for Amnesty and quotes from his own MPs]and to say that the views that you have expressed have been carefully noted.

Mr Brown would like to reply to you personally,[I bet he would!]but as you may know, he receives many thousands of letters each week and his many duties [eg. writing to X Factor contestants - see below] mean that he must ask Government Departments to reply on his behalf. He does appreciate the time that people take to write to him.[Yeah, right!]

The Prime Minister has asked that I pass your letter to [guess where?] HM Treasury so that they are aware of your views and may reply to the detailed points raised in your letter.

Yours sincerely

MR S C----

So there you have it. Gordon Brown's response. Shame none of us here are X Factor contestants, really, innit? The guy seems to take more interest in them:

Gordon Brown writes personal letters to X Factor contestants
Gordon Brown has emerged as a secret X Factor fan after writing personal letters to contestants from the television series...

You must be logged in to see this link.



Trinity: No one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2008 :  07:10:46  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Meanwhile, still waiting on George Osborne's reply (though George has some sympathies for Tax Credit Casualties and should come up with something better than 'Oh my gawd Brown', with an Amnesty being a bold move if he were to go for it), and have heard nothing at all from Nick Clegg.

Trinity: No one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2008 :  14:53:02  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
Ali

I think I would write back to Mr S C ... with a comment about Mr Brown writing personally to X Factor (whatever that is) contestants yet cannot be bothered to write to you about something which is signifcantly more important.

Give him Hell bonny lass!!

P.S. I'm thinking that your excellent letters would be better posted as template letters on the main site, and that newbies should be pointed in their direction with instructions to make use of them!!

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible
reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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auntieh
Rank; Really should become a politician



United Kingdom
625 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2008 :  21:01:32  Show Profile Send auntieh a Private Message
My MP has also forwarded my letter to the Treasury Minister. But that's a good point about the X Factor letters - he sent an individual one to each contestant apparently - wonder if any of them claim tax credits!

I will have a think about how to use this information.

"You can dress a pig in a suit but you can't stop it grunting"
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2008 :  22:22:19  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>I will have a think about how to use this information.<<

We should be using it as a bloody big stick to hit the bugger with!!

Maybe the media would like to know what our glorious leader wastes his time & statioery on??

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible
reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2008 :  08:30:59  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Okay, thanks for the suggestions. I have only written to one paper, and I haven't posted here any details of what I sent to them, as then if it does see light of day, it does so in the paper first. I did a little ode. It's quality press and relevant to an earlier article, so fingers crossed. Have referred them to the original letter in this thread, and have also sent a scan of the 'reply' I was sent, so they know exactly what the background is.

Trinity: No one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 20/12/2008 :  12:22:01  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Well, so much for that... Well, here's the little ditty anyway, just to show that I tried.

If you write to Gordon Brown, your views will not be heard.
Write to Gordon Brown, and you won’t hear a dicky-bird.
You want to see an Amnesty for the Tax Credits mess?
He won’t write back to losers; he courts glamour and success.
You might perhaps receive a line from Gordon’s secretary
To say ‘the PM notes your views – I’ll pass them to the Treasury’.
‘You know that he is busy. He has no time to write’.
Yet we know his priorities, when it’s Saturday night.
He sits glued to the X Factor, Eoghan and JLS,
So when Tax Credit Casualties* seek answers to his mess
He’ll never find the time to write, unless we croon and croak.
He’d rather flatter Daniel, the swimming pool cleaning bloke,
Claiming he’s a ‘great success’ whilst trying to be cool,
No doubt buttering Daniel up to clean out his own pool.
Shame that our Tax Credit pleas get scant regard, and vanish.
Gord’s too busy begging Ruth to sing her songs in Spanish.
So if you’re in Tax Credit debt for doing nothing wrong
It’s time to stretch your vocal cords and warble into song.
Strike a Village People pose, and shout out after me:
“H M R C – It’s fun to work at the H M R C!”

* You must be logged in to see this link.

Well done to Alexandra, btw. Hopefully she will do well in her singing career and never need to claim tax credits. Seems she first aimed for her big break in 2005 - so she's got a lot in common with Tax Credit Casualties who have also been battling to be heard since 2005!


Trinity: No one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2009 :  08:17:12  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
If 2009 is to be the year when state-sanctioned abuse of innocently overpaid tax credit claimants ends, we need ALL our MPs to either be active supporters or to know exactly who we are and what we stand for (a safer, fairer and more just tax credit system or alternative).

We advise everyone waging a dispute against unfair recovery to get their MPs on board. I can see from people's posts and comments about their MPs (whether helpful or not) that people are doing this. Please can I also ask that you tell them about the Tax Credit Casualties and ask them to visit You must be logged in to see this link. and let you know what they are intending to do about this national outrage?

If you can then feed back who your MP is and what her/his response has been to our campaign, either here or directly to me at ali@taxcc.org, this would be most helpful to our campaign for a write-off of all non-fraudulent ovepayments.

Thanks.

Please vote to bring our 'Justice is an Amnesty' campaign to the government’s attention, and ask all your friends to do the same!

You must be logged in to see this link.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/03/2009 :  08:30:45  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thank you, Jo Swinson (Lib Dem):

Jo challenges Minister over tax credits misery for East Dunbartonshire families Wed 4th Feb 2009

Jo yesterday led a debate on Parliament to highlight the problems that East Dunbartonshire families have faced with the complicated tax credits system.

Jo detailed a catalogue of failures that have caused financial hardship for local people, in particular where mistakes by the Tax Credits Office had led to overpayments of tax credits followed by sudden demands for repayment of thousands of pounds.

Commenting after the debate, Jo said:

"It is bad enough at the best of times that the tax credits system is putting extra financial strain on families, but in the current economic climate it is simply unacceptable. The stories I hear from constituents are absolutely shocking. Hard-working families should not be made to pay for the mistakes of government officials. The system must be simplified, and the Tax Credits Office made to take responsibility for its own mistakes instead of forcing claimants to shoulder the burden."...

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Please vote to bring our 'Justice is an Amnesty' campaign to the government’s attention, and ask all your friends to do the same!

You must be logged in to see this link.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/03/2009 :  09:13:25  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Stuck what to write to your MP???

You must be logged in to see this link.

Please vote to bring our 'Justice is an Amnesty' campaign to the government’s attention, and ask all your friends to do the same!

You must be logged in to see this link.
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n/a
deleted



240 Posts

Posted - 18/03/2009 :  18:50:26  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Hi Ali, how interested is David Cameron on this issue? Has anyone sought his view recently? However, he has had a bad time and possibly needs time out, was George Osborne was helping at one time? Thanks
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/03/2009 :  09:14:38  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Hi Rosie - thanks for reminding me! I will contact George Osborne for his response.

I expect some good news, if only because of the support recently shown by two Conservative Candidates to our cause.

Please vote to bring our 'Justice is an Amnesty' campaign to the government’s attention, and ask all your friends to do the same!

You must be logged in to see this link.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2009 :  10:04:54  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
More and more MPs are showing support for tax credit victims, and what would really be helpful is for members to keep us updated on how helpful their own MPs are being. Hopefully people are not just asking their MPs to fight vigorously on their own bahalves to get their rightful tax credits restored or overpayments written off, but are also urging their MPs to look at the bigger picture and fight for justice for all of us? Here's how if you are not sure:

What you can do to support the campaign

Please contact your MP to encourage her/him to:

• Support you in disputing your own tax credit overpayment (this is possible retrospectively if recovery has taken place without your agreement or you have been denied the opportunity to dispute recovery)

• Pass details of the Tax Credit Casualties ( You must be logged in to see this link. ) to any constituents experiencing tax credit problems.

• Bring to the attention of her/his party colleagues the fact that both Citizens Advice and the TCC is calling for an Amnesty on non-fraudulent Tax Credit Overpayments and ask your MP to call for and contribute to Westminster debates.

• Let you know her/his intentions regarding an Amnesty and other reforms, eg. a change of burden of proof in tax credit disputes, and early access by right to independent case review. We need this information to know who to entrust with our vote in the next election!

• Use the Tax Credit Casualties as a resource, since we are here to give the unrepresented claimant a voice and to change the system for the better. MPs need to know about our "Voices of the Victims" booklet, downloadable here: You must be logged in to see this link.

• Provide a link from her/his website to You must be logged in to see this link.

• Consider contributing to our campaign funds so that we can spread the word.

• Raise and sign an Early Day Motion, especially a cross-party EDM raised in conjunction with other parties for the widest support. (Although not MPs are allowed to sign EDMs, eg. Ministers and Parliamentary Private Secretaries, they still need to know about the problems.)

How to contact your Member of Parliament:

The House of Commons website keeps a database of Members of Parliament, most of whom have email addresses. These can be accessed by:

• MP’s name (You must be logged in to see this link.)
• Constituency (You must be logged in to see this link.)
• The postal address is:

[MP’s name] MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Once you have contacted your MP, please let us know you have done so by emailing ali@taxcc.org with the words ‘Amnesty’ in the message subject line. This will help us monitor the progress of our campaign.

Many thanks for your continued support.


Right, here are some more MPs who support our cause:

18 June 2009 “…The plight of families facing demands to give back alleged overpayments of tax credits has been highlighted by South West Beds MP Andrew Selous [a Conservative]. Mr Selous told fellow MPs in the House of Commons about families in his constituency who were being pursued for repayments adding up to thousands of pounds….”
You must be logged in to see this link.

Pro-Amnesty:
26 March, 2009 “…The Tax Credit system is failing the most vulnerable people in the North of Ireland, Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Martina Anderson MLA has insisted…"My office regularly deals with Tax Credit claimants who have had 100% of their payments stopped. In every single instance, these people have been forced into financial difficulties which were not of their making. "The vast majority of overpayments occur as a result of mistakes within the system and I am today repeating Sinn Féin's call for all these overpayments to be written off."” You must be logged in to see this link.

July 9th 2009 “A Bristol MP has joined calls for families paid too much money by the tax credit system to have their debts written off. Bristol North West Labour MP Doug Naysmith will address a conference at the Thistle Hotel in Bristol later to make the call.” You must be logged in to see this link.


There are many more, of course, but we need to know where our best support lies. This is not something a handful or core members can do by themselves, but we need YOU to help make a difference!


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 15/12/2009 :  07:13:51  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Just a quick reminder that our MPs are primarily there, not to scoop the best freebies from Debenhams on their expenses claims, but to ensure we, as their constituents, are treated fairly. Please use them, and please let us know - either via this forum or by emailing us (I am at ali@taxcc.org )- if they have been helpful or not, and whether they support any kind of Amnesty for tax credit casualties or are happy for us to go to Hell quietly.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/12/2009 :  07:29:09  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Have you seen our new TCC homepage yet? You must be logged in to see this link.

Along with a countdown until the next election, there’s the invitation to get more involved in the campaign, and to lobby our MPs about the issues. As our Webmaster says, “Shame on them all .... each and every MP who has done nothing to campaign for the fact that the overpayment problem needs to be addressed.

There are, however, a few Labour MPs with some sense of tax credit justice. Ms Diane Abbott (Labour MP for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington) had the guts to receive a ticking-off during a debate on Citizens Advice Bureaux on 2nd December 2009 for repeatedly bringing up the issue of unfair tax credit overpayment recovery rather than toeing the party line and accepting that a casualty rate of at least one in five recipients of tax credits was acceptable wastage, and simply waffling on generally in praise of CAB and ignoring a major part of their work, as her colleagues did. Here’s some quotes from Diane:

Citizens Advice continues to be concerned nationally about the continuing hardship and stress of people who are still repaying tax credits that were overpaid during the first two years of the system's operation. Next year's pre-Budget report will be an opportunity for the Government to deal with the problem of tax credit overpayment. We all know the problems with the system. People who are entitled to tax credits are frightened off from claiming them because they have heard of people who are harassed and burdened with a debt that is not really of their making.

Members of Parliament and Citizens Advice know that the standard of administration of tax credits was very poor in the first two years of the system-a fact that the Government have acknowledged. In addition, the level of support that is now available to help people with their claims was not available in the first two years. It is wrong that claimants with overpayment debts dating back to 2003-04 or 2004-05 should still be struggling to establish the extent of and reason for their debt, and to repay the balance, which forces them further into debt.

The efforts of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to write off more old tax credit overpayment debt are welcome, but more needs to be done.


Ms Abbott: Yes; but Hackney citizens advice bureau is particularly concerned about long-standing tax credit debt, and so is Citizens Advice nationally, so I wanted to flag it up. The Minister may not be able to respond on the issue today, but I hope that he will consider it…I look forward to the Minister's response to the many important points that have been raised this morning.

Thanks, Diane, for supporting us and standing up for what you believe in!

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Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/12/2009 :  07:35:56  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Over a year ago Michael Meacher was another Labour MP urging the Chancellor to clear up Brown’s tax credit mess. It’s shameful that Brown and Darling aren’t even listening to their own MPs! One year later, and the same issues apply:

HOW TOMORROW’S P.B.R. SHOULD CUT BACK POVERTY

Whatever other help to people on low incomes Alistair Darling may have in mind for tomorrow’s Pre-Budget Report, he should focus on two key objectives.

1 Whilst his raising the personal allowance to £6,035 per year compensated the great majority of 10% tax rate losers, it still left around one million people losing out. These are largely people on the lowest incomes who are neither tax credit claimants nor pensioners over 65, and they are some of the most vulnerable in the current economic downturn. They are still worse off than in the last tax year, and should as a priority be fully compensated now.

2 Tax credits have helped a great many out of poverty, but they can still often trap many who do not take quick enough action to a void being overpaid. There are three areas where alleviation of tax credits debt is now urgently needed from the Chancellor:

(i) Working tax credits are currently lost whenever a person in receipt loses their job or if their hours are reduced. Where the Revenue has hitherto been recovering an overpayment by regular reductions from a person’s continuing award, the claimant is now required to repay within 30 days or reach a deal with the Revenue about the repayment period. The Chancellor should now suspend the requirement to repay in such circumstances when the claimant loses his job until such time that he can start repaying again.

(ii) When a person starts or ends a relationship, they have to make a new claim to align with their new circumstances. If they fail to do so, or do not do so in time, they are currently obliged to pay back all the credit paid to them after their relationship changed. Worse, the overpayment is not reduced by the amount of credit which they would have received if they had made a new claim in time. Until May 2007 the Revenue did permit the setting-off of this amount of credit, and the Chancellor should now use this opportunity to reinstate it.

(iii) A very large number of tax credit claimants are still being penalised by disputed overpayments from the period when the tax credits system began, when overpayments of thousands of pounds were caused by the Revenue’s own mistakes. The Chancellor should now pragmatically write off all outstanding overpayment debt from the first 4 years of tax credits which was caused or exacerbated by official error.

I have written to the Chancellor asking for these changes to be made as a priority in tomorrow’s Pre-Budget Report.


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Nice try, Michael!


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/12/2009 :  07:45:37  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Going back to Diane Abbott and the CAB debate, the full debate can be seen here:

You must be logged in to see this link.

So much for Eric Martlew, Labour MP for Carlisle, only to eager for Diane to brush tax credit overpayment recovery back under the carpet. Shut up and put up. Lorely Burt, Lib Dem MP for Solihull, adds that CAB work on tax credit problems has increased by 22%! That's bearing in mind that these problems have already dominated CAB's work for the past few years, yet are still increasing!

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/12/2009 :  07:50:58  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
This story dates back from June, but - miraculously - it seems that another Labour MP is showing some empathy for tax credit victims:

Ian McCartney wins Citizens Advice Parliamentarian of the Year award
11-06-2009


Labour MP Ian McCartney has been named Citizens Advice Parliamentarian of the year 2009 at a reception in the House of Commons on 10 June.

The MP for Makerfield was selected for his strong record of working on local issues affecting CAB clients, most recently supporting his local bureau in Wigan on their work on immigration and tax credit overpayments...

You must be logged in to see this link.



Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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