Durkan raises plight of cross-border workers

Foyle MP Mark Durkan.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan has written to HM Revenue and Customs requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the plight of cross-border workers who have had their tax credits stopped.

Mr Durkan says an increasing number of cases are being presented to his office from cross-border workers frustrated at “delays in new claims, mistakes and the halting of tax credits payments without notice for existing claimants.”

He added: “Many cross-border workers contact my office when their payments have been stopped and they are told that this is because they had not completed the renewal forms.

“However, most of these workers have never received renewal forms from the Tax Credit Office (TCO) but, nonetheless, initiated their own contact with TCO and completed the renewal process by phone through the helpline.”

Stopping payments in these circumstances, says Mr. Durkan, leaves these families in significant financial hardship - resulting in missed mortgage payments, other direct debits or day-to-day living costs.

“I am also informed that the postage arrangements from the TCO to the Republic of Ireland is still an issue with post taking up to three weeks to arrive,” he went on.

“As a result of my earlier lobbying of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Justine Greening, I received a reply which detailed a reduction in the number of backlog cases.

“However, as a result of the increasing number of cross-border workers who have contacted my office in recent months, I have requested an update on current processing times for new applications.

“I have also requested an urgent meeting to discuss all of these issues which are leaving many families in the North West struggling to survive.”