MPs’ expenses payback: now they know how tax credit victims feel.

Unlike many, I’m sympathetic towards MPs this morning. Many are in the following awful position:

  • They made an expenses claim.
  • They told the official body what they were doing and had it approved
  • Now retrospectively they are being told they got too much money and need to find the cash to pay it back.

To me there’s an argument this is against natural justice. If they acted within the rules, even if some now consider those rules to be flawed, to demand money back doesn’t seem to flow.

Yet before there’s too much sympathy, lets look at what happens with tax credit overpayments to a MILLION people a year every year (see the tax credit overpayment help guide).

  • They are given £100s or £1,000s in tax credits.
  • The amount is calculated by the state and approved.
  • Then retrospectively they’re told they got too much money and need to find the cash to pay it back.

Another awful scenario, except here the people involved are likely to struggle to pay the cash back, or will have their current credits taken off them instead, leaving them struggling on the breadline.

Worse still, we’re discovering many of them are still facing overpayments even though they followed the golden rule and “told them of every change”

I hope MPs will see the similarity – it may make them change this appalling system.

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