Thousands of low-income families who were stripped of their tax credits by a controversial US contractor are to have their cases reviewed, the Government has said.
Concentrix, which was originally brought in to cut fraud and error in the tax credit system, was sacked last year by HM Revenue and Customs following a barrage of complaints by MPs and in the media that claimants were wrongly having their benefits removed.
In a report to MPs, the Government disclosed that of 36,000 claimants who lodged an initial appeal against a ruling by Concentrix, whose Belfast centre was carrying out the contract, 87% have since had their benefits reinstated.
It said the remaining 23,000 claimants (from the 59,000 in total) whose benefits had been cut by the company but did not appeal would now have their cases reviewed as well.
“HMRC will review those cases to establish that decisions made by Concentrix were properly made and communicated to claimants,” it said.
“Where absolutely necessary, we will re-contact the claimant to request further information relating to their claim.
“Current plans indicate that this activity could be completed by March 2017 but the scope of this work will be confirmed once an analysis of the total cost has been produced.”
Frank Field, the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee which produced a scathing report on the Concentrix contract, welcomed the Government’s agreement to accept their recommendations.
In its report, the committee said that right from the outset claimants found the system was “stacked against them”.