Update on Concentrix

I wrote a number of weeks ago about the growing concern around US firm Concentrix and I wanted to update you all on the latest findings.

While it is welcome that the contract with Concentrix will not be renewed the true scale of this shambolic situation is becoming more evident by the day.

The latest figures show that 1 in 3 of the 45,000 claimants who had their payments stopped by Concentrix took up a mandatory reconsideration, 90% of which were successful on appeal. Even then, after successfully challenging the decision, HMRC claim that they are unable to reimburse claimants in a lump sum payment, further disadvantaging those who have been unduly penalised.

To make matters worse there have been complaints about the lack of communication and assistance from HMRC. Many people who have had their payments stopped have been left in serious financial difficulties as a result. This has been made even more distressing due to being left in the dark by HMRC.

I know of one claimant who was on the phone for an astonishing 19 hours over the course of 6 weeks trying to find out whether HMRC had made an error. Another claimant simply couldn’t get through to an HMRC advisor despite calling the helpline more than 70 times.

I am pleased that HMRC have now recruited over 300 staff to deal with the significant backlog of complaints regarding erroneous findings from Concentrix but this situation was entirely avoidable. In their dogged attempt to target benefit claimants, this Government have ended up causing significant distress to thousands of people and substantial costs to the taxpayer to clean up their own mess.

I would advise anyone in the Hemsworth constituency who feels they may be affected by this issue to contact my office.

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