‘End tax credit nightmare’ - Anderson
The Assembly must take tangible steps to end the tax credit 'nightmare', Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.
"The Assembly's Child Poverty Inquiry is due to report it's findings later this month and is expected to recommend the establishment of a Tax Credit office in the North to help people negotiate the bureaucratic nightmare that this has system has produced.
"Many vulnerable families have been plunged into even greater financial hardship and distress because of the disarray within the Tax Credit system.
"Through no fault of their own, these families have been given overpayments because of the inefficient way the Tax Credit system is calculated.
"They are then faced with massive repayment demands which are causing incredible stress and which are literally taking food out of children's mouths.
"The Social Security Agency has the discretion to waive these repayments when they would cause undue hardship or when the overpayment was not the fault of the recipient - as is often the case.
"But many people have experienced great difficulties dealing with a system in England which forces them to jump through countless bureaucratic hoops rather than assisting them
"A local office would go some way towards addressing that but I believe we must do much more.
"In particular, the Department of Social Development should also be instructing the Social Security Agency to declare a moratorium on all repayments until such times as the inefficiencies and inequalities within this system are resolved." ENDS