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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  07:14:59  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I have heard so little recently about the helpfulness or otherwise of various MPs that I thought it time to ask again - how are people finding their MPs?

Has your MP been helpful in pursuing your case? Or has (s)he hardly wanted to know about your experiences? It would be good to have some feedback on who is delivering the goods and who is as much use as a chocolate teapot.

I've heard tell of MPs who have been contacted on the Sunday, have called the MP Hotline on the Monday, and have had a result for their constituent the same day (I do believe the MP in question took a bit of prodding but finally delivered). And then there are those who flee from their constituents when they meet them face to face once the taboo subject of tax credits crops up...

With an election rumoured to be on its way, and the economy in meltdown, much is at stake here. Why should our MPs - who work for us - run a mile rather than support us to sort out a non-fault tax credit nightmare? Are they happy awarding themselves payrises, employing all family members including the dog on top salaries, kitting out second homes with state-of-the-art appliances, hiding their expenses claims from the public, etc., whilst allowing the bailiffs, unfettered, to darken our doors for no other reason than that the Treasury has bodged up its tax credit payments to us?

Life in Britain is hard now for those working in the lower and lowest paid jobs. It's bad enough that our MPs largely have limited understanding of how the other half - or nine tenths - live, let alone flaunt it in our stressed out, pinched faces. If, however, they are prepared to put themselves out to help us in our hours of need, then at least they are going some way to earning their income as well as our votes and respect.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at out leader Paula's last encounter with an MP from her home borough. She was at a post-awards event, (reluctantly) hob-nobbing with some of the rich, ruling and powerful when accosted by this MP for a view on the tax credit system, no less. Paula being indomitably Paula, she told him exactly what was wrong with the system, whereupon he fled as fast as his shiny shoes would carry him in the opposite direction.

If it were me I would probably have made small talk with the nearest, similarly gobsmacked individual, but our plucky Paula went off in hot pursuit, telling him that it was somewhat rude to ask a question and then flee half way through the answer because what he was hearing wasn't quite what he wanted to hear.

This was a prominent government politician with Treasury experience, yet he would rather make sympathetic noises whilst being told about someone's gout, or discuss the relative merits of the different vol au vents than discover that the 'helping hand' of tax credits was actually shoving vulnerable people over the edge.

Someone has to keep these scroungers and no-gooders to task! I jest, however, because there are certainly a few decent politicians out there who are working very hard for their constituents and are prepared - just occasionally - to listen to a few unpalatable truths.

I wish there were just a few more of these in the once-proud Labour Party. You, however, may know of some...

Please could folk post here, and let us know just who is really trying hard to get justice for their constituents, who is getting results, who "could try harder" and who is stumbling over his shoelaces/her stilettos trying to flee headlong from any mention of the dreaded TC words...



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
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3032 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  08:35:44  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
A good friend of mine recently received a phone call. Here's her story as told to me;

"i answered the phone today, a person asked me if i voted in the last election, and would i ever vote labour. then he asked what i think of the labour party

i said they are a bunch of w*****s

it was only Chris Ruane, labour mp

he said, thank you for your honesty.."

"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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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  10:39:29  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
>>I have heard so little recently about the helpfulness or otherwise of various MPs that I thought it time to ask again - how are people finding their MPs?<<

Often with his/her snout in the trough.

"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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Robert
Admin



United Kingdom
829 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  11:32:19  Show Profile Send Robert a Private Message
My MP Dawn Primarolo is unhelpful to say the least, just doining enough to make her look concernered, when all she does is pass my letters on..


Time to complain to her again..

The truth is out there.. GO get it......Non Illigitamus Carborundum

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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  12:35:17  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
For information on my MP please see PJ's blog - we both have the very unfortunate luck to have Denis MacShane as our MP. Roll on the election as I hear he wouldn't be standing again!
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 26/01/2009 :  19:01:16  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Sarah

For information on my MP please see PJ's blog - we both have the very unfortunate luck to have Denis MacShane as our MP. Roll on the election as I hear he wouldn't be standing again!



Aye, just like a rat abandoning the sinking ship!!

"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 - 26/01/2009 :  20:30:36  Show Profile Send auntieh a Private Message
My MP is Nu Labour. She says she is interested but I don't think she is really. She hasn't helped me. She hides behind her current post which is some sort of constutional role I think. Previously she relied on the fact that she was a whip to avoid supporting EDMs or asking awkward questions in Parliament.

Auntie

"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 - 26/01/2009 :  21:19:37  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by auntieh

My MP is Nu Labour. She says she is interested but I don't think she is really. She hasn't helped me. She hides behind her current post which is some sort of constutional role I think. Previously she relied on the fact that she was a whip to avoid supporting EDMs or asking awkward questions in Parliament.

Auntie

"You can dress a pig in a suit but you can't stop it grunting"



Hi Auntie

So how about naming & shaming this useless article who you & the rest of us are paying to represent us?

It would be worth us ALL knowing exactly who she is so we can decide on who not to vote for.

"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 - 31/01/2009 :  07:53:33  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I have to say that the Liberal Democrats seem to be far more concerned with the human misery and ludicrous maladministration associated with tax credits than either Brown's glove puppets or Cameron's tentative Tories. Visit any Lib Dem MP's website at random and you'll almost certainly find reams on the tax credit 'system'. Here's an example:

"...1.8m families nationally...have been overpaid tax credits more than once in the last four years, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats...

The figures show that:

...overpayments

1.8m families have been overpaid tax credits more than once in the four years that the system has been running, an increase of 400,000 in just one year. That is one in five of all families who have claimed in the same period

Over 60,000 families have been overpaid more than three times

Repeat underpayments

555,000 families have been underpaid more than once since 2003, an increase of 150,000 families in just one year

82,000 families have been underpaid more than twice

6,000 families have been underpaid more than 3 times

..."These figures show that a scheme that was meant to provide support for hard-pressed families has turned into a nightmare for many local families.

"The complexities of the tax credit system mean it is almost impossible to know if you are being paid the right amount. "Even people who have supplied all the correct information can find that they have been overpaid due to Inland Revenue errors and then face repaying thousands of pounds that they have already spent.

You must be logged in to see this link.

You must be logged in to see this link. and are urging them to do their utmost to make a safer, fairer system.







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 - 31/01/2009 :  08:39:00  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Similarly, from another Lib Dem site:

Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Steve Webb said:

"These figures [see above] show that a scheme that was meant to provide support for hard-pressed families has turned into a nightmare for millions.

"The complexities of the tax credit system mean it is almost impossible to know if you are being paid the right amount.


"Even people who have supplied all the correct information can find that they have been overpaid due to Inland Revenue [sic] errors and then face repaying thousands of pounds that they have already spent.

"Families need to know exactly how much cash is coming in and when, not live in fear that the taxman will come knocking and asking for the money back.

"The system needs to be changed so that payments are fixed for at least six months at a time so that people know where they stand."

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I think we can safely say that the Lib Dems are on our side now - helping individual Casualties (particularly David Laws), and having on their Manifesto a return to virtually failsafe fixed awards and insisting that innocently overpaid claimants have access to truly independent arbiters with the onus on HMRC to prove claimant deceit or negligence rather than on the claimant to prove their utter compliance, honesty and vigilance to errors HMRC sloppily made and didn't spot till too late. Now our task is to persuade the other parties to support us fully. The Conservatives are part-way there but need further encouragement and lobbying - best done on an individual basis by actual constituents = YOU LOT OUT THERE!!!! (Read that as a spur to action and not a shout.) Labour could be a lost cause but occasionally we do find a Labour MP - such as Jon Cruddas - prepared to openly support an Amnesty and putting their social conscience, electorate and the ultimate redemption of their party above their love of all things Brown. There's also the hope that once both Opposition parties properly on board, Brown will effect a U-turn when his backbenchers start realising votes (and their seats) are at stake...

We have to keep plugging away at our MPs. It's no coincidence that recently there have been far more debates on tax credits and searching questions asked in the house. I attribute this to the continual lobbying of our members.

All I'd say is that we are volunteers here - most having full-time jobs, the usual family demands, and dependent relatives and/or disability issues to contend with, so whilst we would fight full-tome for you and us if we could - we simply don't have the time to do everything we could. That's where everyobe can play a really useful part. Don't worry if you are not the world's best letter-writer. All your MP really needs to know is the misery this "system" has caused you and yours, and that you expect them not only to help you with your dispute, but to help TAX CREDIT CASUALTIES everywhere. Don't be afraid to use our name and to quote the website You must be logged in to see this link. because if you are struggling to explain anything (none of us are "experts" in the system, and I have to continually refer to Paula and our website info), there is a wealth of info on site. We aren't afraid of MPs looking in! We have nothing to hide, but maybe they do???

Spreading the word is going to be key. Do you remember the aerial photos of the turnout in America when Obama was inaugorated? Apparently, that sea of dots was about two million people. Year on year, under tax credits, about that number of people have been overpaid...that they will admit to! That's an awful lot of people faced with recovery bills. A lot of people to hound. A lot of taxpayers' money to spend in the process of hounding them. And Brown should know - a lot of potentially disgruntled voters at the next election!

To spread the word will mean more disputes, more successes, more pressure on the government, and a will to change. Can we do it?

I think you'll know the answer to that one from across the sea...


(text colour changed)

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


Edited by - Ali M-W on 31/01/2009 08:40:18
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 23/05/2009 :  10:17:20  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Another round of contacting politicians is going to take place soon. However, it does seem that it is one rule for them and another for us. We are presumed guilty or at fault even when we do nothing wrong. Yet they are assumed to be on the straight and narrow and even when caught out, cry out their innocence as though it is indisputed, even though we are treated as crooks by default.

I think this poster I saw the other day just about sums it up:

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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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 23/05/2009 :  12:46:19  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
"Are folk finding their MPs helpful?"

Dunno about helpful but I found out that my "new" (labour)MP has been helping himself to money he wasn't entitled to.

I shall be writing to him to let him know my thoughts about him!!

"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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n/a
deleted



4 Posts

Posted - 23/07/2009 :  17:10:16  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Hi
My MP is John Redward I have sort his help at clinic twice. The first time he managed to get my tax credits restated after having it stopped for over three months but the second time we met, he made me feel like I was wasting his time. He seemed to have no clue that he had a direct line to them and if he did was unwilling to use it. I took a support worker with me who felt that he was very rude and unsympathetic. All I was trying to do was get a staight forward answer to a straight forward question, which time and again tax credits and indeed John Redward were unwilling to answer.

I now feel whats the point of it all, the goverments are all in it for what they can get( well most)and this system called monatary economics is just for the rich and where the poorest of people are made to feel it is all there fault.

debbie longlegs
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 24/07/2009 :  07:44:14  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks, Debbielonglegs. Your comments are interesting given that John Redxwood had this to say in April 2008 about child (or, more accurately, parent poverty):

So come on Labour. Put in place a real anti poverty programme. Understand poverty is a shortage of spending power for anyone who is poor, whether they are young or old, single or married, with or without children. It is bad news for anyone suffering from it. The best and quickest way to get more people out of it is to lower taxes. That means reining in the excesses of the multilayer government and the quango state.

You must be logged in to see this link.

Shame you found your MP so unhelpful. What a missed opportunity for him to actually live up to his words and do something constructive to show that he was, indeed, against government bureaucracy and all for the poorest people and families receiving more money, less tax, and a little more say in things, to address the power imbalances he speaks of in his article.

Perhaps you could write to him and point out how he is saying one thing but doing another?

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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