North East Fife Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling to again highlight his concerns about the failings of the tax credit system.
Commenting Menzies Campbell said “Ever since Gordon Brown introduced this very complicated tax credit system it has caused severe problems. A typical problem is a demand for an alleged overpayment which because of the amount has caused many of my constituents considerable anxiety. The system needs to be simpler and more user friendly and until it is problems will remain”.
Follows is Menzies Campbell’s letter to Alistair Darling
Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
London SW1P 3AG
4th February 2008
I am writing to you to express my concerns about the operation of the tax credit system.
As you will be aware I have regularly raised issues on behalf of individual constituents with you and your predecessor and each case is rightly dealt with on its own merits. Usually the problem is a request for a repayment of an alleged overpayment of tax credits. You will be aware that in many cases the sums of money involved are several thousands of pounds, which not surprisingly causes considerable anxiety to my constituents.
I have two cases recently which exemplify my long standing concerns about the operation of the tax credit system. In each case my constituents were asked to repay a four figure sum because they allegedly had not provided information about a change in their circumstances. In each case they claimed that they had timeously provided this information but had to go to great lengths to prove it.
My concern is that due to failings in the system, the onus of proof falls unfairly and unreasonably to my constituents. This generally involves repeated correspondence between myself and Ministers. In one case recently my constituent had to go to the length of providing a disc to HMRC, which they had obtained from HMRC, of their telephone calls with HMRC, by way of evidence. I would be grateful for your comments.