Louise Haigh MP today took the unusual step of raising a "Point of Order" in the House of Commons after becoming "seriously concerned" at the lack of accountability of the US outsourcing giant Concentrix, who won a £75m contract with HMRC to take over some of their functions in relation to tax credits.
The decision to raise the issue in Parliament followed a number of cases involving her constituents where tax credits were mistakenly withdrawn leading to serious financial hardship - and the correction of these mistakes became "next to impossible" due to the "wall of silence" from Concentrix. It often took many weeks for constituents to have their tax credits reinstated.
In the "Point of Order" she asked the Speaker of the House to consider whether the serious flaws in communication from Concentrix and between HMRC and the provider is preventing MPs from being able to properly represent their constituents on such serious matters.
Despite collecting and assessing the evidence of 5 million tax credit recipients, Concentrix cannot be contacted directly instead dealing with complaints through HMRC who often can give no update on the status of a case.
Commenting Louise said:
“Despite often dealing with highly vulnerable cases like those of my constituents, Concentrix often hold cases up for weeks without explanation and the shadowy way in which they operate – refusing to deal directly with the public – indicate a provider which has total contempt for the individuals it has been tasked with assessing.”
"I took the serious step of raising the issue as a Point of Order in the House of Commons because I have become increasingly concerned - as have many of my Parliamentary colleagues - over the past number of weeks that we are simply unable to discharge our duties to represent our constituents when Concentrix refuse to deal with MPs and HMRC have no idea what is going on.
"This can lead to unacceptable delays in the reinstatement of tax credits which causes serious financial hardship for my constituents through no fault of their own"
You can watch the Point of Order and the response from the Speaker here.