- "Complaints to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about tax credits continue to rise; they currently form more than 26 per cent of all complaints to the Ombudsman. The complaints fall into three key groups: the design of the system; failures in complaints handling; and unfair or unreasonable recovery of overpayments."
- "Overpayments and underpayments are unavoidable aspects of the system which will occur however well it is administered, and they will therefore continue to generate dissatisfaction and complaints."
- "The unfair and inconsistent application of Code Of Practice 26, and the unduly harsh nature of some of the decisions taken on recovery, caused extreme worry and anxiety to many low income families. The outcomes of some of those decisions seemed to fly in the face of the aims of the tax credit policy."
- "In such instances, the impact on those concerned, typically those on the very lowest incomes who are the most vulnerable in society, is huge and highly distressing"
- "For a number of families their experience was so bad that, regardless of their entitlement, they said that they would never again apply for tax credits."
So Chancellor Brown's £16 billion a year flagship policy for helping the most vulnerable in our society has not only been very wasteful but has entrenched poverty (100,000 more children have been classed as poor in the last year), penalised stable families, kept parents out of work, and caused unnecessary distress to the poor souls caught up in its bureaucracy.
Many of those very souls are still tribal Labour voters. How long can their perception of Labour as the party of social justice last?