Tax credits accused of ‘systemic maladministration’

There has been ‘systemic maladministration’ in the operation of Gordon
Brown’s flagship tax credits scheme, the parliamentary ombudsman Ann Abraham
said yesterday.

Quizzed by the Public Administration Select Committee, Abraham said that the
number of case it was dealing with that were the product of maladministration,
and the fact that so many were for the same reasons, showed there was ‘systemic
maladministration’ in the organisation of the credits.

David Varney, chairman of the Revenue, has denied there was maladministration
in relation to a narrower charge on the automatic recovery of tax credits and
disputes in relation to them. Yesterday’s comments by the ombudsman broadens her
attack on the system.

Abaraham also disclosed that she did not know if the system would ever work,
and that problems would take years to sort out: ‘Unless the Revenue really
grasps this and puts itself in the position of people on the receiving end of
automated notices and automated recovery, then I think there are fundamental

There was also criticism of the chancellor. Grant Shapps, Conservative MP for
Welwyn Hatfield, said to Varney: ‘Really this isn’t your fault at all, is it?
The system is fundamentally flawed, isn’t it?’

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