I was sorting paperwork yesterday and started to divide my tasks, placing the paperwork pertaining to each task in a separate clear plastic folder.
There is the letter to Lloyds Bank, who not only charged me for non payment of a monthly standing order I had cancelled two months previously (they must have been presented with a request for payment) but also told me twice on the phone that I am not me as I failed to answer all their security questions correctly.
A letter to the manager at my branch elicited a proforma letter from a central complaints department saying they will respond within four, then eight weeks. Meanwhile I cannot phone my bank.
Then there is the letter to NPower who presented an electricity direct debit for £79 when they had agreed that £53 was an adequate payment. I am waiting for them to refund the £63 charges I incurred as a result of the resultant unauthorised exceeding of my overdraft (very closely watched as you can imagine!)
I am ignoring the TV people for now
Then there is the housing association that runs my estate, who in spite of my paying service charges (lighting, cleaning of paths etc) still write to the woman who owned the house four years ago.
My current bug is however, the Tax Credit people, who want £986.20 paid back to them. I don't owe it to them, but they have now sent me four bills of differing sums with no indication of how they worked out my debt to them. I stopped claiming in 2006 as it seemed pointless and complicated. I don't dare claim Tax Credit even though doing the Tax Credit Calculator suggests I am entitled to over £3k a year from them (filled it out today just to see).
So I have written a number of angry and enquiring letters, copied the bills and sent them back to the Tax Credit people with copies to David Cameron, David Heath (my MP), Nick Clegg and this last, copied below, to Gordon Brown.
House of Commons
Dear Mr Brown
I am copying you my enquiry to the Tax Credit Debt Recovery Department. I thought you may be interested in how the Tax Credit system “helps” self employed mums
trying to stay off benefits.
It is hardly seems worth the trouble of working and training hard when I live around large happy families who all sign on. Perhaps I should give up working, have some IVF, put on 6 disabling stone, and spend my late 40s and 50s bringing up triplets?
I hope you find it enlightening, just how these things work in the real world. If you wonder about my demographic I am middle class white professional owner occupier of ex housing association property, mother of one.
I cannot afford the tax you are charging me, especially when you are going to spend it on legal challenges to Freedom of Information requests about MP’s expenses, or incredible six figure bonuses for heads of department who have lost my personal data, (when they should in fact have resigned on the spot, relinquishing pension rights.)