North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, is today challenging Chancellor Gordon Brown to justify a Treasury Press Statement claiming "Success of Flexible Tax Credit System".
The Statement, appearing on the Government News Network propaganda site , asserts that the tax credit system
"Is responding to the challenge of the global economy; matching flexibility with fairness to achieve the goals of full employment and tackling child poverty” and states that:
"The package struck a balance between providing more certainty and stability for families….and maintaining the flexibility to respond to the changes in income and family circumstances".
In a Parliamentary Question appearing on the Order Paper today Roger Gale asks the Chancellor.
"What research was conducted in preparing the Government News Network Press Release on the tax credit system"
And follows this up with two further questions:
"How many appeals against repayments of tax credits were outstanding at 1st February"?
"What was the total value of outstanding repayments of tax credits at 1st February"?
"The forty or so (Thanet) cases of appeal against demands for repayment of "overpaid" tax credits that I am at present handling gives the lie to the suggestion that the system is now "responding to changes in family income and circumstances" says the MP. While the Child Tax Credit system may help some families the fact is that for others it has caused misery, distress and great uncertainty. People are fearful of spending funds that they receive in case they then face a demand for the repayment of monet6y that they no longer have.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Dawn Primarolo) states that the system "places greater responsibility on claimants to ensure that their records are kept up to date". The experience of some of my constituents suggests that the Revenue and Customs are incapable of handling and processing changing information - which is why overpayments and then demands for repayment are made.
The Chancellor’s department is incapable of getting its own calculations right - but expects claimants to have minds like calculators