Wednesday, 17 February 2016 15:30

UKG has questions to answer over tax credit "phishing letters" contract

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SNP MP Ronnie Cowan has called on the UK Government to urgently clarify whether it supports private contractor Concentrix’s practice of indiscriminately sending phishing letters to low-income families in a bid to uncover fraudulent tax credit claims.
 The MP for Inverclyde has condemned the “ethically reprehensible” letters and has called on the UK government to clarify whether is supports the practices employed by Concentrix.

 Commenting, Ronnie Cowan MP said:
 “Many of my constituents have received these “phishing letters” from Concentrix asking them about an undisclosed partner. Receiving a letter that accuses you of committing fraud can be extremely worrying and places additional stress on already struggling households.
 “These letters are ethically reprehensible and this practice speak volumes of the UK Government’s current priorities.
 “This is indicative of the Tory Government’s attitude, where it pursues relatively small figures from those on low incomes whilst they negotiate down tax payments from their large corporate friends.



  • Since 2014, HMRC has contracted Synnex-Concentrix UK Ltd to tackle fraud and error payments on a payments-by-results basis but according to the National Audit Office’s report on HMRC accounts for 2014/15, the success of the contract has been far lower than expected.  HMRC estimates that the project delivered savings of £500,000 in 2014/15 instead of the £285 million originally forecast.
  • The original estimate of £1billion savings over the three year contract is not achievable and HMRC instead estimates that the project will only deliver savings of £423 million but this is dependent on an increase of staff and an improvement in performance.
     “The Tories have questions to answer over the disgraceful practice of indiscriminately sending letters containing accusations of fraud to low income families.”