Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has taken a variety of steps to reduce overpayments of tax credits including real-time income data in-year, guidance that is very clear on these matters, and of course providing appropriate contact routes with HMRC so that those who have changed circumstances can indicate that to our tax authorities.
Overpayment of tax credits can have disastrous impacts on families; a constituent of mine has been left with a bill of £8,000 as a result of purely administrative errors admitted by HMRC. Such errors can create real financial hardship and in the past have even pushed some families into poverty. Will the Minister start instructing Treasury and HMRC officials to do more to tackle this problem?
HMRC is doing a great deal, as I have already outlined to the hon. Gentleman, in terms of making sure that the correct information is provided. Overpayments do not solely emanate from HMRC; there is of course customer error and there can be negligence or a failure to report a change of circumstances. But I can assure the hon. Gentleman that HMRC is always sympathetic and careful in its approach to anybody in the kind of situation he described.