Relief after CSA admits �30,000 mistake

A lorry driver who faced a �30,000 demand from the Child Support Agency (CSA) for two grown-up children has received an apology from the body.

IPSWICH: A lorry driver who faced a �30,000 demand from the Child Support Agency (CSA) for two grown-up children has received an apology from the body.

Tony Harvey, 45, branded the CSA as “incompetent” after it said it was wrong to demand the grandfather pay the hefty figure for two children who are now in their mid 20s.

The organisation admitted the blunder in a letter this week and offered to pay Mr Harvey �250 in compensation for the fiasco.

Mr Harvey, who lives off Bramford Road, Ipswich, said: “I am lost for words. They are incompetent.

“The past five weeks have been horrible but it was brilliant to get the letter.”

Mr Harvey first thought the demand was a joke as son Michael is now 25 and lives at home with him and second wife, Rebecca.

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But when pressure to pay the �30,590.75 mounted, Mr Harvey feared he may lose his home or be forced to go bankrupt.

He said: “It brought me down to my knees and almost put me in a box.

“I was scared because there was no way I could pay and I thought I could lose everything I have worked for.”

Mr Harvey first grappled with the CSA in 1997, when he was told he must pay �110 a week for his children, which forced him to leave his job and go on benefits.

But after a few phone calls, Mr Harvey was told the situation was cleared up and returned to his job assuming all was fine - until the bombshell demand last month.

The agency has now admitted there should never have been a claim. It has also refunded the �110 first taken from Mr Harvey's account in 1997.

“I felt relieved but after what they have put me through, �250 is an insult,” he said. “I feel totally let down by the CSA.

“They have destroyed me twice and I want some compensation for their error.”

Mr Harvey now plans to demand a more substantial sum from the CSA, to compensate for the time he was forced to take off work to take legal advice and challenge the demand.

Have you received a mistaken demand from the CSA? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk