Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Government postponing bad news on tax credits?

HM Revenue and Customs were scheduled to release Tax Credits 'Finalised Awards' and 'Supplements of Payments' for 2006-07 yesterday [Tuesday 20th May]. They should have been available here.

LibDem analysts expect the statistics on tax credits overpayments to show that the Tax Credits system has wasted over £10bn in four years.

The figures are expected to reveal that 1.25m families received over £1bn in overpayments in 2006-7, meaning that in just four years the money lost through fraud, error and overpayments would amount to over £10bn.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Danny Alexander said:
"The expected loss of £10bn in four years lays bare the failings of this system that is clearly not delivering the financial stability low-income families need.

"Gordon Brown likes to boast about the tax credit system, but the reality is very different to the spin.

"The figures will serve to remind families of the huge problems Gordon Brown’s pet project has faced in the five years it has been running. Despite changes to the Tax Credits system which were announced by ministers with great fanfare, overpayments are still expected to be over £1bn for last year alone.

"Far too many low-income families are still being put on a financial rollercoaster by the enormous complexity of a system that too often gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

"The system must be stabilised by fixing awards on a six monthly basis to eradicate overpayments and win back the confidence of hard-working and overstretched families."

Is the government waiting for a day on which to bury bad news?
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