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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2016

Suicidal phone calls: fight to reverse tax credit cuts

Call centre workers at a private tax credit cuts firm have to deal with suicidal claimants, photo by William Brawley (Creative Commons)

Call centre workers at a private tax credit cuts firm have to deal with suicidal claimants, photo by William Brawley (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Corinthia Ward, Birmingham Central Socialist Party

Concentrix, a private US firm used by HM Revenue and Customs to cut tax credit payments, has been receiving suicidal calls from claimants - as a result of losing their payments thrusting them deeper into poverty.

An anonymous Concentrix worker has spoken out against the firm. He highlighted not only the lack of training for its 600 staff, but also the high volume of desperate calls from people who rely and survive on tax credits. "People crying down the phone to you that they're down to their last bag of wipes, have no food in the fridge to feed their kids."

The Tories awarded Concentrix a £75 million contract to investigate potential fraudulent claimants. However, hundreds of low-income households have had their tax credits stopped without being forewarned, and without any time to refute the allegations.

Concentrix call centre staff have been at the receiving end of these highly stressful calls. The same whistleblower reported the company gives them no counselling or support. They are instead told to "have a smoke... you'll be fine" - and then expected to come back and deal with another 40 or 50 calls.

The Socialist Party demands the reversal of tax credit cuts, and of profiteering from public services. All workers should have proper training and support, backed up by trade union recognition to help hold management to account.

A £10 an hour minimum wage will ensure less people need to claim tax credits. And fund real living benefits for all as well.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 12 October 2016:


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Where next for the BMA junior doctors' dispute


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Suicidal phone calls: fight to reverse tax credit cuts


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Related links:

Tax credits:

triangleEnd Tory cold cruelty: life under austerity in Merthyr

triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

triangleScrap the Tory 'rape clause' and all benefit attacks

triangleFight Tories' callous cuts pushing 200,000 more kids into poverty

triangle30% of people on inadequate incomes in UK

Tax:

triangleTerry Fields MP, Prisoner DV 3695 - The jailing of 'poll tax' rebel and Militant

triangleBirmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor

triangleG7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

triangleReaders' opinion

Cuts:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Flooding, homelessness, cuts... Walthamstow needs a re-set - what's the socialist plan?

triangleTower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

triangleGovernment departments move to impose pay cuts

Claimants:

triangleFilm: 'Sick' - 'They've got people looking in the wrong direction'

trianglePCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

Public services:

triangleTories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services

Benefits:

triangleKeep the Universal Credit uplift

Birmingham:

triangleSocialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign

HM Revenue and Customs:

triangleHMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

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