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Tax credit bungle leaves family furious

PUBLISHED: 02:42 06 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

FURIOUS mum Keiran Elmer has been left high and dry in the bureaucratic bungle that has seen millions miss out on government cash they're owed.

Mrs Elmer, of Hugh Ager Close, Stowmarket, should receive tax credits - but has received none since the start of last month when the payment system changed.

FURIOUS mum Keiran Elmer has been left high and dry in the bureaucratic bungle that has seen millions miss out on government cash they're owed.

Mrs Elmer, of Hugh Ager Close, Stowmarket, should receive tax credits – but has received none since the start of last month when the payment system changed.

"I should get £160 a fortnight, but it just hasn't been coming through – and that is a lot of money to lose," said the frustrated mum-of-two.

"We have to rely on my husband's wages, which aren't very much, and the £26 week child benefit.

"I've had to contact people we owe money to and postpone paying them – it's not very good."

Mrs Elmer filled in her form for tax credit well before the deadline.

"I sent it off in February, well before the closing date – and it's been dreadful trying to find out what's happening.

"I rang the helpline, but it kept ringing for 20 minutes before anyone answered.

"Then I was told someone would call back within 48 hours and no one called me back.

"Eventually I was told to contact the local office for an emergency payment.

"When I called Ipswich they said I'd have to come in person to make the claim – but that's easier said than done.

"I don't have a car so I've got to come in on the bus with my three-year-old – they seem to want to make it as awkward as possible," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Inland Revenue, which administers tax credits, said everyone who had a valid claim should be getting their money within the next few days.

She could not comment on individual cases, but said the revenue had been happy with the way the new arrangements had been introduced.

She said more than four million claims had been processed – with two thirds opting to be paid monthly.

These claims started being paid on Monday, and would be reaching people over the next week.

A third of people opted for weekly payments and these had been paid since early April.

The revenue had 2,000 people staffing its helplines, but was aware the demand had been too great at times and an extra 700 people were brought in.

However she blamed media coverage for some of the problems: "Many people now seem to be calling because they are worried by the media coverage, rather than because there is a problem – which of course increases demand further," she said.

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