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familytaxcredit
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373 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2007 :  00:42:20  Show Profile Send familytaxcredit a Private Message
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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 25/11/2007 :  19:17:58  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Could people take a look at this debate please, and see what they make of it?

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I'm not sure whether it has any implications for how tax credit overpayments are recovered when other overpayments are not; it's a convuluted argument and I am full of head cold and struggling with it! Please could others have a quick look?

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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auntieh
Rank; Really should become a politician



United Kingdom
625 Posts

Posted - 25/11/2007 :  21:45:58  Show Profile Send auntieh a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

Could people take a look at this debate please, and see what they make of it?

You must be logged in to see this link.

I'm not sure whether it has any implications for how tax credit overpayments are recovered when other overpayments are not; it's a convuluted argument and I am full of head cold and struggling with it! Please could others have a quick look?

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.





I think this is more to do with other benefits, such as state pension, attendance allowance DLA etc. There is reference to Tax Credits in passing but only in connection with the computer system faults.

Hope you are soon feeling better Ali.
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 25/11/2007 :  21:47:49  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
You mean to say that they have a faulty computer??

Geordie: Worbairn's hacky mucky.
English: The baby needs a wash.

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auntieh
Rank; Really should become a politician



United Kingdom
625 Posts

Posted - 25/11/2007 :  21:54:27  Show Profile Send auntieh a Private Message
Faulty system, faulty management, faulty software, faulty customer service, faulty literacy skills, faulty training, I could go on. Fawlty Towers has nothing on this lot!
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Resurgam
Admin



United Kingdom
144 Posts

Posted - 25/11/2007 :  23:01:27  Show Profile Send Resurgam a Private Message
Ali - I understood what you asked! They are saying that a software fault recorded "erroneous earnings", and caused overpayments in jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, bereavement benefit and the state pension - and those award decisions stand!

Lord Skelmersdale (Quote): "In other words, they provide an amnesty for benefit claimants who have been overpaid due to, we are told, a mismatch of data between two computer programs—the DWP's pensions strategy computer system and the NIRS2 computer run by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. There are, we are told, 90,000 such cases of overpayment. Lucky recipients; they are clearly doing rather well out of this exercise.

Not only that, on the other side of the equation it is estimated that 30,000 claimants have been underpaid. The Explanatory Memorandum states: "The decision has been made to make good the underpayments
".

I (that is, ME) say that "Is blatant discrimination against Tax Credit Casualties" and shows "Dual Standards"

Lord Skelmersdale then says "I have never heard that there has been an amnesty for overpayments in the tax credits areas since the Government introduced it. We have heard screams of rage from people who have been overpaid and have had to pay the money back. It is hardly surprising when people on low incomes suffer very badly from an irregular income stream. It seems that there is a division of opinion between the DWP and the Treasury about what should happen in these cases. Did the DWP need Treasury approval before laying the regulations, or did it do so off its own bat?"

I'm shouting now - THIS CAN BE USED BY TCC!! IT STINKS OF DUAL STANDARDS & DISCRIMINATES AGAINST TAX CREDIT OVERPAYMENT VICTIMS.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 26/11/2007 :  05:53:09  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Resurgam

Ali - I understood what you asked! They are saying that a software fault recorded "erroneous earnings", and caused overpayments in jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, bereavement benefit and the state pension - and those award decisions stand!

Lord Skelmersdale (Quote): "In other words, they provide an amnesty for benefit claimants who have been overpaid due to, we are told, a mismatch of data between two computer programs—the DWP's pensions strategy computer system and the NIRS2 computer run by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. There are, we are told, 90,000 such cases of overpayment. Lucky recipients; they are clearly doing rather well out of this exercise.

Not only that, on the other side of the equation it is estimated that 30,000 claimants have been underpaid. The Explanatory Memorandum states: "The decision has been made to make good the underpayments
".

I (that is, ME) say that "Is blatant discrimination against Tax Credit Casualties" and shows "Dual Standards"

Lord Skelmersdale then says "I have never heard that there has been an amnesty for overpayments in the tax credits areas since the Government introduced it. We have heard screams of rage from people who have been overpaid and have had to pay the money back. It is hardly surprising when people on low incomes suffer very badly from an irregular income stream. It seems that there is a division of opinion between the DWP and the Treasury about what should happen in these cases. Did the DWP need Treasury approval before laying the regulations, or did it do so off its own bat?"

I'm shouting now - THIS CAN BE USED BY TCC!! IT STINKS OF DUAL STANDARDS & DISCRIMINATES AGAINST TAX CREDIT OVERPAYMENT VICTIMS.



Resurgam, I did wonder. I've known for a while that overpaid benefits can be kept, with the exception of Housing Benefit, whilst tax credits are treated as with tax. The 'Money with your name on it' campaign would tend to imply that tax credits are benefits, but they are actually a law unto themselves at the moment. We need legal advice - this is one for Paula and Sarah. Thanks for deciphering that - I am not thinking clearly at the moment and these kind of debates can be hard to follow if not in the know.

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 26/11/2007 :  08:22:50  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
My letter to my MP follows:

Dear Sarah McCarthy-Fry,

Thank you for meeting with me on 3rd November. Following from that meeting, I have a few questions I should like to ask:

1. Were you able to speak to Jane Kennedy about having an urgent consultative meeting with representatives of the Tax Credit Casualties, and what was the outcome of that, please?

2. Are you aware of any report being prepared for Jane Kennedy as a direct result of our meeting with Tracy Gale on 12th June, as was promised to us on a number of occasions, and ‘eagerly awaited’ by her predecessor Dawn Primarolo? If, as we suspect, this promise has been reneged on, please could you complain to HMRC and Jane Kennedy about this on my behalf?

3. Has anything yet come of your intention to pursue the miss-selling of tax credits as ‘Money with your name on it’ in Autumn 2002 – incidentally at a staggering cost of £9 million in publicity alone? Please see: You must be logged in to see this link.

4. The whistleblower I mentioned to you when we met was interviewed by the BBC last week and we await further developments with considerable excitement and anticipation. I asked you if, ‘given the incorrect procedures/illegal recovery fiasco and now these allegations that fraud is being paid for largely by the honest poor, isn’t it time to wipe the slate clean?’, and wonder whether you have been able to discuss this further with Treasury colleagues? With the latest HMRC mishap over missing personal data, security lapses and loss of vital information, I hope you will agree that HMRC’s shattered reputation is becoming a national embarrassment which will cost Brown dearly, and that to continue to punish honest claimants for HMRC’s lax behaviour is intolerable and unjust, and totally unbecoming to Labour’s reputation as a Socialist government upholding the rights of the underdog?

5. Although not mentioned at our meeting, please could you examine this debate and see what you make of it?

You must be logged in to see this link.

We discussed this on our forum, and came to the conclusion that ‘a software fault recorded "erroneous earnings", and caused overpayments in jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, bereavement benefit and the state pension - and those award decisions stand!’ We feel that to write off overpayments caused by official errors for some recipients and not others (Tax Credit Casualties) is ‘blatant discrimination against Tax Credit Casualties and shows dual standards’. All along, recipients of ‘Money with your name on it’ have been treated like tax evaders rather than recipients of what is essentially a benefit given to elevate their low incomes and encourage lower paid people to work. Is there a sound basis for this in law, or are we being discriminated against?

I would welcome an early reply, whether by email or letter.

Yours sincerely,



Alison Myers-Ward (Mrs)



Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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Resurgam
Admin



United Kingdom
144 Posts

Posted - 26/11/2007 :  12:26:38  Show Profile Send Resurgam a Private Message
Well done again, Ali.

It amazes me, the mixture of people that we have on this forum! Some can write in one way, some in others. Some do nothing.

Although I can sometimes write a good letter, and it comes easily to write on the forum, I still have a major hurdle in "tasking" my MP to take on the issues that I want him to. I feel that I will be imposing on his already busy time - a bit like "Oliver" asking for more, because it's not "my" case that I'm asking him to work on, but the "campaign". (ie. - I don't feel justified in asking!)

To anyone else who is reading this, it's something that I have to learn. Ali's learnt it.

But going back to "Oliver" - he DID ask for more, didn't he!

Edited by - Resurgam on 26/11/2007 12:29:20
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 27/11/2007 :  08:26:17  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks, Resurgam! I can be assertive sometimes, and a complete coward at others - it varies. I tend not to kick up a big fuss when I know I am in the wrong, but when I really get furious is when I've done everything I could possibly be expected to do yet I am being treated badly and made the scapegoat for someone else's mistakes. Fortunately that's such a rare occurrence that I rarely 'lose it' entirely, but i am livid over this whole tax credit debacle and how unreasonably all of us are being treated. First of all, we are fully compliant and honest with them, yet mistakes are made. Well, I can accept that, as mistakes do happen. Secondly, we're called upon to pick up HMRC's mistakes and effectively do their job for them. Well, if I'm told in the first place I have to do that (was anyone?), I can even accept that. Thirdly, fine all the time we keep spotting their errors, but it transpires that if we miss one out of twenty, thirty or forty HMRC mistakes, Bingo!, we are suddenly up to our eyeballs in 'debt'. Now that irks me. And then to hear politicians crowing what a fantastic system this is and how well off we all are, whilst they are ignoring our letters to the contrary, is starting to really p*ss me off. Finally, to be blamed by HMRC's glib talk of 'claimant fraud and error' is setting my blood boiling. So these days I am quite happy to make a few little requests of my MP, who - I would bet my overpayment on, treble or quits - would be apoplectic with rage if it had been the Tories running this sinking ship. Sorry to rant, but in my view we do need to let our MPs know just what's wrong with the system and not be too vague as to what we expect them to do - let's tell 'em!

Alan did, and he's achieved the remarkable feat of getting a Labour MP to write strong letters to his senior ministers about how the system is bringing Labour into disrepute, so it can be done!

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 27/11/2007 :  23:57:57  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
I once went with Georgie Fame to Paul Newman's restaurant in Sheffield for Sunday dinner. Very nice it was too.

Geordie: Worbairn's hacky mucky.
English: The baby needs a wash.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 28/11/2007 :  12:49:29  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
There was a time, I recall, when David Blunkett was more minded to open his wallet to help tax credit victims than to ignore their requests for help whilst he evaluated whether on not his wine was served in the requisite glass. New, yes; Labour, no. How times change...

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 28/11/2007 :  13:01:57  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
Maybe wor Sammy should get hissell a job as a wine waiter at Mr Blunkett's favourite restaurant .....

Geordie: Worbairn's hacky mucky.
English: The baby needs a wash.

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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 29/11/2007 :  00:16:10  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
Me thinks sammy wines too much -;
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 29/11/2007 :  00:21:49  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
<Paul Newman's restaurant in Sheffield>
Did you have eggs Al



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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 29/11/2007 :  00:47:47  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
Lol .. nice one Sammy!

No I had Roast Beef & Yorkshire pud I think.

I was working at The Crucible at Sheffield with Geordie Fame and it was a late Sunday morning. Things were going well and I had finished the sound check earlier than expected and Georgie Fame asked me if I fancied going with him to Paul Newman's for lunch. WOW!! I though.

Off we went, Me, Georgie and one of the three backing bird singers from the show (from Bristol Robert; your neck of the woods).

It turned-out that Paul Newman's was a small family run place that served an excellent Sunday lunch, but it wasn't owned by THE Paul Newman!!

Another time I was touring with the late George Chisholm - an excellent chap and a great trombonist - and we were playing the Conference Centre in Harrogate. We ended-up standing together in a queue in a fish & chip shop, he in full evening dress & me in my normal scruffy roadie attire - you know, jeans, sweatshirt & trainers held together by gaffer tape!

Geordie: Worbairn's hacky mucky.
English: The baby needs a wash.


Edited by - Alan the Geordie on 29/11/2007 00:51:14
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 29/11/2007 :  08:18:37  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by sammy

<Paul Newman's restaurant in Sheffield>
Did you have eggs Al







Are those Ostrich eggs, Sammy?

I know they're breeding - Jane Kennedy's one too! (She won't meet with TCC). Or is that chicken rather than ostrich? Still foul.

Agent Smith: I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2007 :  09:00:18  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
You can find your MP here:

You must be logged in to see this link.

Down to you as to how far you involve them, but individual MPs can be helpful, particularly if you happen to live in the constituency of an opposition MP who is forthright about tax credit overpayment problems.

You can 'cc' them into your correspondence to the Tax Credit Office, and write a covering note asking them to write in support of your case. Any topical issues, such as HMRC incompetence, you can also highlight and encourage them to ask questions, both directly to the TCO, or in the Commons. Some will write to Jane Kennedy.

It would be helpful if you alerted your MP to the fact that you are a member of the Tax Credit Casualties, as this does flag up that we have collective action underway and are therefore slightly more powerful than any individual claimant would be standing alone. You could perhaps invite your MP to tell her/his consituents about the TCC. You may have to explain that we are a peer-support group and that we are not replacing what the CAB and MPs do, but are there to compliment this, and just give victims a sense of not being alone, as some MPs will misunderstand and write back, 'I am doing all I can to support constituents, so thanks but no thanks', or words to that effect.

Occasionally we get people contacting us who were directed to us by their MPs in the first instance! That's fantastic when it happens. I remember how hard I hunted in those early days to find a group such as ours. It was hard to find Paula (Dean) and the forerunner of our current website (third incarnation), but the relief was immense, just to know it wasn't just me who had these problems and felt like I was battering my head against an impervious brick wall.

We so need to get MPs on board. Even, or particularly, the Nu Labour ones. Once they start to see that a number of their constituents have issues with the TCO, they will start talking to Brown about putting things right, especially if they are in a marginal constituency and fear they may not be returned to power.

MPs are really important. They can change the law - we can't. Please let's use them!


(typo's corrected)

Machine god: WHAT IF YOU FAIL?
Neo: I won't


Edited by - Ali M-W on 09/12/2007 09:02:06
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Resurgam
Admin



United Kingdom
144 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2007 :  14:38:58  Show Profile Send Resurgam a Private Message
Great words, Ali.

But I find it particularly sad - so, so sad - that an MP has to direct their constituents toward a user group, in the persuit of justice and fairness!

This country has gone totally mad, and it ain't finished yet!!

Edited by - Resurgam on 09/12/2007 14:40:07
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2007 :  08:19:39  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Resurgam

I find it particularly sad - so, so sad - that an MP has to direct their constituents toward a user group, in the persuit of justice and fairness!

This country has gone totally mad, and it ain't finished yet!!



Prophetic words. We are likely to suffer under this regime until 2010. Let's hope the new incumbents will address the totalitarianism of this state and at least make our public servants in some way accountable to us.

I can never understand the big fuss about immigration. I know so many people who can't wait to get off this miserable, fearful island. There is already a mass exodus and people have had enough of being forever watched, taxed and persecuted by the state for its own aberrations. Treat us like kids or criminals incapable of independent thought or altruistic action, and this is what you get.





Machine god: WHAT IF YOU FAIL?
Neo: I won't

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 16/12/2007 :  08:59:30  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
For those who need it, here's where you can find your MP:

You must be logged in to see this link.

Please, if you have an issue with tax credits, start work on a letter to your MP this weekend, in anticipation of some Tax Credit Casualties publicity next week. If you can send off your own grievance to your MP, mentioning our group and enclosing any juicy newspaper cuttings you may come across in the next few days, that would be more helpful than you could know.

And if you're stuck for cuttings, and especially if your MP is a Nu-Labour oxygen thief (to borrow from Russell Brand), you can always use the 'You've been scrooged' article, which I will add below.

You must be logged in to see this link.

Machine god: WHAT IF YOU FAIL?
Neo: I won't


Edited by - Ali M-W on 16/12/2007 09:00:18
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