Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has today (Wednesday 14 September) welcomed the decision by the UK Government not to renew the contract with US firm Concentrix – and has asked how the company will be held to account for the hardships they have caused her constituents.
In a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament, Ms Crawley spoke of the apparent “phishing” exercises carried out by Concentrix on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – a series of blanket letters accusing benefits claimants of breaking rules on cohabitation.
Ms Crawley asserted that these accusations were baseless and called out both Concentrix and the DWP for ignoring requests for further information since last year.
In May 2015, Concentrix won a £75million contract to try to save the Government more than £1billion in incorrect or fraudulent tax credit payments. Its contract was based on a payment-by-results model – meaning it makes more money if it cuts more payments.
The Treasury confirmed that in 120 cases since last October, the company did not “fully” meet the performance standards laid out in its contract.
Commenting, Ms Crawley said: “I have had a number of constituents contact me as a result of Concentrix wrongly accusing them of tax credit fraud, so it is welcome that the contract will not be renewed with Concentrix.
“However, it not acceptable for this to simply be the end of the matter. Concentrix have put thousands of single parents across the country through months of stress and anxiety.
“I had constituents without tax credits for 6 weeks over Christmas, only for the fraud case to be cleared.
“Since November last year I have written to the DWP and Concentrix on behalf of several constituents, and not once have I received an explanation as to what evidence these accusations were based on.
“The UK Government should launch a full investigation into Concentrix’s practices, so not to repeat their failures the future.”