Hove woman accused of lesbian relationship with her sister by over-zealous benefit investigators

Posted On 26 Oct 2016 at 4:51 pm

Benefit investigators working for a Government contractor accused a Hove woman of having a lesbian relationship with her own sister in a misguided attempt to prove she was claiming tax credits fraudulently, parliament heard today.
The upsetting blunder was detailed by Hove MP Peter Kyle during an opposition debate into the failings of Concentrix, which currently handles tax credits administration.

Shadow treasury minister Rebecca Long-Bailey called on the Government to apologise for the “distress and hardship” caused by a catalogue of blunders and heavy handed treatment of claimants.

Mr Kyle said: “I was contacted not so long ago by a woman in a similar situation. She had been accused of Concentrix – she had had her tax credits cut because they accused her of having a lesbian relationship with her sister.

“And it took her coming to her member of parliament and myself calling Concentrix myself before they started believing the truth.

“Isn’t it absurd that it takes a direct intervention from a member of parliament before this ridiculous company takes these people seriously.”

Ms Long-Bailey replied: “The term it beggars belief springs to mind and unfortunately this case is not an isolated one.”

Brighton and Hove News understands the accusation came after the constituent moved into a home previously occupied by her sister but Concentrix wouldn’t accept they weren’t lovers.

Minister Jane Ellison agreed Concentrix’s performance “fell below the standard required” but added the firm did deliver “millions of pounds of savings” for taxpayers.

She confirms that payments to the company will be cut as a result of failings and its contract will not be renewed beyond May 2017.

In addition, the government will not look to employ another private firm to perform tax credit checks “at this time” and HMRC is in negotiations with Concentrix on an “early exit” from the contract.

  1. Zeina Clare Reply

    I too have had Concentrix accuse me of living with someone, when I have been single and living by myself for years. I had to ‘prove’ my single status and send all manner of documentation to Concentrix. I was extremely upset being accused blatantly of being a liar. They said to me maybe one of my neighbours held a grudge against me??? Months later I received a reply to state they had finished their investigations and no further evidence was required. No apology given what so ever!

  2. Ding Dong Reply

    Money from legal action is the only thing our recently Americanised culture understands. lessons will not be learned, unless we enforce levels of common sense beyond that of relying on MPs using cases to bolster their political careers.

  3. Max deWinter Reply

    It’s their job to catch the bludgers. Of course there will issues. But no smoke without fire comes to mind… But joking aside how about concentrating on the need to be thorough? And check and cross check. People are not all honest…

    • Andy Richards Reply

      No smoke without fire….like when they accuse you of living with a man called “RS Macoll”, who turns out to be the branch of RS Macoll Newsagents that you’re living above.

      Giving people the power to “check and cross check” is very dangerous when the “cross-checkers” have no idea what they’re doing.

      The chief “bludgers” in this sorry affair would appear to be Concentrix – paid millions in taxpayers money for quite laughable levels of incompetence.

  4. Valerie Paynter Reply

    The difference between “extortion” and “savings” gives me pause to reflect after reading this. If there ARE £millions being carved out of benefits by this company, perhaps a very, very deep investigation is required into the consequences for those without the strength to fight back who just either go away and die, commit suicide or slide into a level of deprivation that shortens their lives.

  5. Delia Ives Reply

    Universal basic income would enable all this expensive bureaucracy to be abolished. I venture to suggest it would even save more than it cost compared with the present systems.

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