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Exclusive: Coalition’s pursuit turns nasty as debt collectors hound poorest over tax credits

Our investigation with The Independent published today:

"Hundreds of thousands of Britain’s poorest people are being targeted by private debt collectors hired by the Government after their tax credits were overpaid because of errors made by HMRC.

A joint investigation by The Independent and the campaign group False Economy has uncovered the Coalition’s increasingly forceful methods of pursuing more than 4.7 million cases of overpaid tax credits, which amount to debts of £1.6bn.

The hardline stance follows pledges by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, to bring down the benefits bill.

The debt collectors hired by HMRC phone the people they are targeting on their mobiles, send them text messages and write to them at home. Some of those targeted say they feel harassed and frightened. In at least 80 tax credit cases, assets have been seized directly."

Read the rest here.

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