I am not alone.
Thousands of people that are in receipt of Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits are facing yet another week of no money. Why? Concentrix.
Concentrix are an American company employed by our HMRC to implement compliance checks on their behalf.
Compliance checks are 'random' checks or based on information gained from the Electoral roll, bank accounts, tenancy agreements etc
Although it is actually not clear what reasons trigger a check it seems these are common place:
- Bills that are still in joint names, eg mobile phones, utility bills
- Credit cards still in joint names
- Joint bank accounts (even if they are not used)
- Electoral roll records still listing your ex-partner as a resident in your home
- Council tax bills that still show an ex-partner’s name
- Tenancy agreements in joint names registered at your property
- Your child’s details appearing in financial records (if they are an adult but still living at home).
Suddenly and often with no warning, your payments can stop.
This is what happened to me; I went to my bank and nothing in there. I telephoned HMRC to be told my case was now in the hands of Concentrix and I needed to telephone them. 4 hours later I spoke to a very hurried, uninterested individual who explained to me that they needed a full tax year of pay slips for the previous tax year and any other documentation regarding a period of self employment. As my company never opened how do I exactly prove a negative? I asked. Write a letter fully explaining everything. So I rounded up the payslips and wrote an extensive letter doing just that.
5 weeks passed without a word, my direct debits are bouncing, bills not being paid. I phoned whenever I could and very rarely even got a hold message and even that usually ended by being systematically being cut off or my credit running out.
During this stressful time I found hundreds if not thousands that are in the same situation, all crying out for help on social media; very rarely getting a response from anyone. It is a truly heartbreaking read.
These are hardworking people, Mothers with children, families just trying to make ends meet! These are the people that the Osborne promised tax credit cuts would have affected but those cuts were stopped were they not? Is this not just another way of doing just that, stop payments for months and in some cases; don't even backdate, thus allowing HMRC to hold that money and gain the interest x thousands of cases!
I was moved to start an online e-petition; I sign enough of them, why not actually implement one. So I did; in just 24 hours it had over 500 signatures but it is NOT ENOUGH. We need 10,000 for a response from Government or 100,000 for it to be read in Parliament. A long way to go. I have asked so many well known and politically active 'celebs' (can't stand that term) to RT just so word gets out; but to no avail, it seems UK POVERTY is not as important as a latest book, gig or appearance on 'Big Brother 987'!
There is a comment section on the petition and I want to share a few quotes here:
Lisa has allowed me to share her story:
"I am a single parent with 2 boys. One has autism and at present is unable to attend school due to social anxiety. I left a full time job at the council due to this as I am home schooling him for the time bring. I am self employed. My children's father left 3.5 years ago but he still has mail coming to my address. We split under d/v so I haven't challenged him on it! I did receive the initial Concentrix letter but I was late returning it and my payments were stopped. I have been trying to call Concentrix daily as I don't even know why. My housing benefit stopped as a direct result but fortunately the council are easier to deal with and it was quickly reinstated. Please return everything straight away and sign the petition. The letters from Concentrix don't even look real and many have dismissed them as a hoax. We should not be expected to send sensitive information in the post either. I discovered that Concentrix have targets on cases closed which makes me wonder...."
There are 100s of comments all telling a similar story, people left so out of pocket they cannot afford to get to work, pay the child care, pay rent and EAT!
WHAT is going on people? It is 2016! How can we just sit back and allow this type of atrocity to take place?
Why can you not go through the procedure without losing your payments? I have nothing against any checks, I have nothing to hide but I do have something against being penalised whilst those checks are being made!
The never ending cycle of guilty until proven innocent is upon us and woe betide you if you are caught on the wheel!
ACT now - you may not currently be affected but how would you cope if next week it were you?
Sign the petition: Sign HERE
Use the Hashtag on Social Media #Concentrixputtingfamiliesintopoverty