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

Senior Assistant to the Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£33324 - £35751 per annum + n/a
Communities, Environment and CentralCorporate Governance & Democratic ServicesSenior Assistant to the Leader, Leader's Office PO1 (£33,324- £35,751) T England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Early Support Consultant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£31,346 - £33,782
We are looking to hire candidates with experience of Whole Family Working and the Supporting Families program to join us as... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Governance Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£23,080 - £24,491
As a Governance Officer, you will work as part of the Homes and Neighbourhoods team that... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Finance and Customer Services (S151)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Salary to £67k (plus £3k car allowance)
As a large and successful district council, North West Leicestershire has every reason to be confident about the future. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Community Co-Ordination Manager

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£37,890 - £39,880
Do you want to be a part of a high performing team, developing creative projects that benefit the community? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan 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