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Ali M-W

3558 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2009 :  10:54:00  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Sometimes we don't see what's in front of our noses.

Over the years that I've been plugging away trying to appeal to the better nature of our politicians to wish to change (whatever side of the political divide they sit on) those parts of the tax credit system which are glaringly unjust, I think I have learned some unwelcome truths.

Sometimes it isn't just a case of telling MPs what is wrong and letting them got on with putting it right. I've learned the hard way that it isn't just lack of knowledge preventing them from doing anything, but denial. It's not that they can't. It's that they won't.

I've also gone from hating HMRC, everything it stood for, and everyone who worked for it, to actually realising that the Helpline workers administering the system are, in a sense, victims too.

As an insider once mentioned, some of the posts in this section could be seen as "jeering". I've seen - elsewhere - references to the fact that "people earning crap money for crap desk jobs are ...just following rules". And brave people have contacted me trying, as best they can when also trying to stay out of trouble and avoid HMRC giving them the sack, to help us. "Insiders" are often very apologetic, begging me - or us - not to see them as "evil" but understand that they are stuck doing a job which they want to do fairly and well, but often can't.

"It's just my job" or "I was following orders" has, over the years, come to be seen as a means of justifying anything and everything. The more inhumane the treatment dished out, the harder it must be to be a conscientious objector. And this is a harsh tax system, not a holocaust. Who can blame an HMRC office worker for not wanting to be out of a job?

I am sorry for any HMRC employees who may feel belittled by anything they may find here. The intention isn't to hurt those who are just trying to approach their job in the most conscientious and compassionate way possible.

Just as there will always be a few tax credit claimants who lie, cheat and try it on, there will always be a minority tax officials who misuse their position, are overly officious, see everyone as a liar and a cheat, and view a worried claimant with contempt and disdain, if not outright hostility. We condemn them, of course - but not the well-intentioned, hardworking and generally conscientious rank-and-file workers doing their best with a bad job.

My apologies to those HMRC workers who approach all callers and claimants with an open mind, respect, and and genuine wish to be fair and to help those in real hardship or distress.

We need you. Whether it's to actively work with us (covertly, or course, or you may be sacked!)to whistleblow and help out with advice; to interpret current guidance on discretion as generously as possible; or to feed back to your managers elements of the system which need changing - we welcome and value you!

Sorry if this hasn't always been clear.

And welcome. Please help us change the system and make it safer and fairer.



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

3558 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2009 :  10:56:20  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
...And if anyone can help us understand why so much of the online Tax Credit Manual is blanked out for Freedom Of Information exclusion purposes, it would good to know!

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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