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Innocent until proven guilty? Not if you’re poor…

In a bizarre recent story a woman was told by the Government that she was to have her social security withdrawn due to a suspected fraudulent claim. The private company contracted by HMRC to search for fraud in the tax system, Concentrix, had determined that she was not living alone as she had claimed, but was instead cohabiting. Her partner, according to Concentrix, was the 19th century philanthropist Joseph Rowntree, a confusion that had emerged as a result of the woman living in a house provided by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

This isn’t the only case where Concentrix has stopped people’s tax credits for bizarre reasons, they’ve also accused people of marrying their sister. However, to just blame Concentrix misses the broader failure. Successive governments have robbed people on low incomes of their privacy, and treated them as guilty until proven innocent

HMRC set the rules that allow Concentrix to stop people’s accounts, and gave them access to people’s private information. The only change from previous regimes is Concentrix seem even more breathtakingly incompetent …

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