Roger Gale once again shows why he is such a good local MP, in this week's Gales View, he brings up the problem over payments with the family tax credit system and shows genuine concern for those constituents subject to this nightmare. The idea as I understand initially with the family tax credit system, was to give additional incentives to those people on low incomes and get some benefit from working. As Roger Gale points out, for many this has become a nightmare with, in his experience the average overpayment being something in the order of £2,000.
Presumably to government ministers this is a small problem, to those who have experienced low-pay, £2,000 is still a lot of money.
Apparently Revenue and Customs, take the view that people should have known about the errors, and should have put the money aside to repay the tax authorities. I myself know from speaking to people, that there have been errors with this system, from the start.
Clearly if anyone is to blame, given the fact that government must have known of the problems, from day one, maybe a more radical solution could be applied, instead of harassing threatening and generally frightening people on low pay, perhaps we could have a new system of civil service accountability, whereby cock-ups of it this magnitude, are paid for by taking money from they're generous pension funds or alternatively cutting their salaries, such action might actually concentrate the minds of these smug bureaucrats.
In many cases these hard-pressed families reported overpayments and were told to set the money aside, this is good advice if you are a well paid civil servant ticking off the day's until you receive your generous pension, but for someone who is just getting by it's not so easy to set hundreds of pounds aside, just because some government employee can't be bothered to sort the problem out.
I feel that our country, would be a better place, if people in the public sector, were more accountable and certainly they would be less smug if their salaries and pension benefits were determined on the basis of performance.