William Eichler 12 January 2018

‘Under pressure’ HMRC threatens welfare claimants, MPs warn

‘Under pressure’ HMRC threatens welfare claimants, MPs warn image

MPs have warned HMRC’s attempts at modernising amount to a ‘precarious high-wire act’ that threatens welfare claimants.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published today warns HM Revenue & Customs has to make ‘tough decisions’ on how it allocates limited resources to its operations.

HMRC is currently undertaking 15 major transformation programmes, all while preparing for Brexit.

The committee is concerned this will have a negative impact on the taxpayer and, in particular, questioned whether HMRC is doing enough to support vulnerable Tax Credits recipients, especially as they transfer to Universal Credit.

The MPs also said there was a lack of incentive for HMRC to reduce Tax Credits fraud and error in the transition period to the benefits system.

‘HMRC's transformation programme would have been less risky had it not attempted to do everything at the same time,’ said the committee chair Meg Hillier MP.

‘What was already a precarious high-wire act is now being battered by the winds of Brexit, with potentially catastrophic consequences.’

‘HMRC accepts something has to give and it now faces difficult decisions on how best to use its limited resources—decisions that must give full consideration to the needs of all taxpayers,’ continued Ms Hillier.

‘In particular we are concerned about the effect on people simply trying to pay their fair share. HMRC’s customer service has improved on the appalling levels of recent years but its claims about call-answering times don’t stack up. Any new deterioration would be wholly unacceptable.

‘There are concerns too about the impact of changes in the welfare system, which could increase the financial risks faced by vulnerable Tax Credits claimants. At the same time, the level of Tax Credits fraud and error has gone up and is only going to get worse.

‘These are serious, pressing challenges for HMRC, requiring swift and coordinated action in Government. As a matter of urgency the authority must set out a coherent plan and demonstrate it is fit for the future.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Highways & Transport

City of York Council
£58,568 - £66,923 per annum
This is hugely exciting time to join the Council in this new role as the strategic lead for our Highways and Transport service. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Youth & Community Based Commissioner

Essex County Council
£19308 - £19631 per annum
Youth & Community Based Commissioner Permanent, Part Time £19,308 to £19,631 per annum (FTE) Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Worker - Family Support & Protection Team

Essex County Council
Up to £207 per day + Umbrella
Family Operations delivers direct provision of services relating to vulnerable children, young people and complex families. These services will be del England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

District Youth and Community Commissioner in Training

Essex County Council
£25313 - £28001 per annum
District Youth and Community Commissioner in Training Permanent, Full Time £25,313 - £28,001 Per Annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Worker - Early Intervention Team

Essex County Council
Up to £207 per day + Umbrella
*** This is a temporary position to start as soon as possible based at Colchester Hospital ***About the RoleWorking to support adults, and their famil England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue