Whitehall is facing the prospect of having to shed as many as 100,000 jobs over the next five years, the union representing senior civil servants has said.
The head of the FDA, Dave Penman, said he expected the Conservative government to continue primarily targeting staffing levels as it makes yet more swingeing cuts to public spending, leading to an even greater round of public sector job cuts than those under the coalition.
He said that, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)’s analysis of the chancellor’s autumn statement, only 40% of the total cuts expected between the election of the coalition government in 2010 and the next general election in 2020 had been made.
Those cuts had come at the cost of around 80,000 jobs, Penman said, leading him to believe that the remaining 60% would cost a further 100,000.
“The DWP could lose 20,000 to 30,000 staff, the HMRC could lose 10,000 to 15,000 … it is greater cuts than over the last five years and most of that is based around staffing, so it is not surprising.
“That is what the civil service is expecting, it is certainly what we are expecting. We are back to the 1930s level of spending.”
The former cabinet office minister Francis Maude led a round of job losses over the last parliament, prompting the Public and Commercial Services Union to accuse him of showing “enthusiasm for cutting jobs”.
Penman said that he wanted the government to be honest about what it could deliver if it went ahead with its plans to squeeze the civil service.
“We are saying you need to match commitments with resources – you can’t just cut that amount, then say ‘get on with it’.”
But he said that the FDA could not stop “an elected government from cutting the size of the civil service when they have been elected to do so”.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said:
“The minister will set out his priorities for this parliament in due course. Anything else at this stage, one week into his tenure, is purely speculation but all is working well so far and we have a strong, cohesive centre.”
Source – The Guardian, 18 May 2015
More businesses in the North-East have been ‘named and shamed’ by the Government for not paying the national minimum wage.
The businesses were revealed by Business Minister Jo Swinson and included employers not complying with minimum wage rules and having arrears of more than £100 owing to staff.
Those named and who are based in the region were:
- Mrs Karen Aitken, trading as Angel Hair Design, of Gainford, Darlington, neglecting to pay £703.33 to a worker
- Mrs Deborah Adcock, trading as LJ Beauty and Hair, of Seaham, neglecting to pay £463.60 to a worker
- Inn2inns Ltd, of Hemlington, Middlesbrough, neglecting to pay £323.10 to two workers
- Mr Assad Madani, trading as Dona Papa Pizza, in Chester-le-Street, neglecting to pay £101.64 to a worker
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which published the 70 strong list, said each case had been “thoroughly investigated” by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Ms Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.
“Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules that they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties of up to £20,000 if they don’t pay the minimum wage.”
The GMB union said there were still far too few “wage dodging employers” being brought to justice and “bucket loads of evidence” that big firms in particular could afford to pay more.
The Government said it was increasing HMRC’s enforcement budget by a further £3m a year in a bid to recover hundreds of thousands of pounds owed to workers.
The GMB also said a wage offenders register should be kept by Company House with those on it deemed unfit to hold further directorships.
The current national minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is £6.50 an hour, although the Low Pay Commission yesterday recommended to ministers it increases by 20p to £6.70 an hour.
COMPANIES NATIONALLY PAYING LESS THAN THE MINIMUM WAGE
- East Midlands Crossroads – Caring for Carers, Nottingham, neglected to pay £37,592.56 to 184 workers.
- Delcom Systems Ltd, Salisbury neglected to pay £11,731.52 to a worker.
- S Hanns LLP, Chatham neglected to pay £8,448.84 to a worker.
- The Apostolic Church trading as James Kane Nursery, London, neglected to pay £8,347.71 to 2 workers.
- Young Friends Nursery Ltd, Hove, neglected to pay £6,789.71 to a worker.
- Station Garage (Little Weighton) Ltd, Little Weighton neglected to pay £5,440.77 to 2 workers.
- KRCS (Digital Solutions) Ltd, Nottingham, neglected to pay £5,161.85 to 5 workers.
- Mrs Shirley Elvin trading as Seaton Garage & Engineering Co, Hull, neglected to pay £4,840.31 to a worker.
- Pontcanna Hair Studio Ltd, Cardiff, neglected to pay £4,784.34 to a worker.
- Carol Ann Daker trading as Swan Hill House Residential Home, Shropshire, neglected to pay £4,395.78 to 27 workers.
- Hobby Horse Ltd, Plymouth, neglected to pay £4,049.31 to a worker.
- Fylde Coast Pizza Ltd trading as Papa Johns, Blackpool, neglected to pay £3,949.62 to 14 workers.
- Manleys Ltd, Belfast, neglected to pay £3,797.83 to 3 workers.
- J B Howard and Son Ltd, Leyland, neglected to pay £3,469.96 to 7 workers.
- Mr L Tolman & Mr S Blanchard trading as Mardi Gras Hotel, Blackpool, neglected to pay £3,206.76 to 3 workers.
- Stafforce Personnel Ltd, Rotherham, neglected to pay £3,044.79 to 63 workers.
- Best Start Ltd trading as Tiny Treasures Day Care Nursery, Birmingham, neglected to pay £2,928.95 to two workers.
- Maybury Automotive Ltd, Woking, neglected to pay £2,670.88 to 2 workers.
- C&R Tyres Ltd, Kelso, neglected to pay £2,261.60 to 3 workers.
- SSE PLC, Perth neglected to pay £2,233.95 to 5 workers.
- Encore Envelopes Ltd, Washington, neglected to pay £2,060.09 to a worker.
- SmileyWorld Ltd, London, neglected to pay £1,729.00 to a worker.
- Mancroft Ltd, Leeds, neglected to pay £1,172.97 to 3 workers.
- Kevin & Bernadette Farrell trading as Derrygonnelly Autos, Enniskillen, neglected to pay £1,690.35 to a worker.
- Delves Food & Wine Stop Ltd trading as Loco, Walsall, neglected to pay £1,152.48 to a worker.
- Webe (Chelmsford) Ltd, Chelmsford, neglected to pay £1,521.98 to 4 workers.
- Gregson Lane Garage Ltd, Preston, neglected to pay £1,431.57 to 2 workers.
- Ms Julie Ann Wright trading as The Worx, Portadown, neglected to pay £1,110.60 to a worker.
- Mr S Partridge & Ms M Shead trading as Cobblers Fine Sandwiches & Pastries, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1,003.83 to a worker.
- Mr Phillip Campbell & Mrs Lorraine Campbell trading as Supervalu Kells, Ballymena, neglected to pay £905.86 to 2 workers.
- Mr C Pask trading as Pask Hair & Beauty, Derby, neglected to pay £900.00 to 2 workers.
- J&G Salon Ltd trading as Jealousi & Garlands, Tamworth, neglected to pay £881.28 to a worker.
- Faster Fit Tyres Ltd, Scunthorpe, neglected to pay £719.30 to a worker.
- Mrs Karen Aitken trading as Angel Hair Design, Darlington, neglected to pay £703.33 to a worker.
- Clearshot Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £684.94 to a worker.
- Everest Express Ltd, Lincoln, neglected to pay £657.03 to a worker.
- Leisure Emporium Ltd trading as Brown’s Cafe Bar & Bistro, Nottingham, neglected to pay £643.86 to a worker.
- Mrs S Walker trading as Alleyways Fish & Chips, Scarborough, neglected to pay £601.59 to a worker.
- Gary & Toni Valentine trading as The Harbour Inn, Seaton, neglected to pay £584.42 to a worker.
- Shreeji Barnsley Ltd trading as Coffee Delight, Buxton, neglected to pay £555.70 to a worker.
- Rowe Sparkes Solicitors Ltd, Southsea, neglected to pay £530.96 to a worker.
- Fish Hairdressing Company Ltd, trading as Fish Hairdressing, Maidstone neglected to pay £521.82 to 3 workers.
- Mrs Deborah Adcock trading as LJ Beauty & Hair, Seaham, neglected to pay £463.60 to a worker.
- D&D Dies Ltd, Nottingham, neglected to pay £446.37 to a worker.
- G Joynson, D Joynson and C Joynson trading as Headquarters, Withernsea, neglected to pay £430.07 to a worker.
- Matchesfashion Ltd, London, neglected to pay £375.61 to 2 workers.
- Colin Saich trading as Lindcoly Kennels, Bury St. Edmunds, neglected to pay £338.41 to 9 workers.
- Inn2inns Ltd, Middlesbrough, neglected to pay £323.10 to 2 workers.
- 99p Land Ltd, Swindon, neglected to pay £315.26 to a worker.
- General Tarleton Ltd, Knaresborough, neglected to pay £300.62 to 6 workers.
- Western Computer Group Ltd, Bristol, neglected to pay £287.54 to a worker.
- Matrix Electrical Engineering Ltd, Harlow neglected to pay £286.60 to a worker.
- Honeybees Childcare Ltd, Preston, neglected to pay £276.30 to a worker.
- Mr G J Pearce trading as Sheppards Wood Service Station, Nottingham, neglected to pay £268.56 to a worker.
- The Mirrors Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £262.87 to a worker.
- A1 Techsol Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £233.47 to a worker.
- Mrs J Cole trading as Rayleigh Retreat, Rayleigh £231.73 to a worker.
- Hamlet Homes Properties Ltd, Westcliff-on-Sea neglected to pay £226.40 to a worker.
- Smartmove Property Specialists Ltd, Aldershot, neglected to pay £206.36 to a worker.
- EYFS Ltd trading as Oak Tree Day Nursery, London, neglected to pay £181.41 to a worker.
- Mr & Mrs P Munn trading as Merry Maids of the Weald, Tonbridge, neglected to pay £169.56 to a worker.
- Mr H Singleton trading as Willowbank Builders, Huddersfield, neglected to pay £163.89 to a worker.
- Professional Referral Services Ltd, Wigan, neglected to pay £156.93 to 2 workers.
- Amtec Computer Corporation Ltd, Ferndown, neglected to pay £149.64 to a worker.
- Lychgate Coffee Ltd, Wolverhampton, neglected to pay £124.39 to a worker.
- Finite International Logistics Ltd, Penarth, neglected to pay £119.92 to a worker.
- Drummonds Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £113.58 to a worker.
- Grove Mechanical Services Ltd, Magherafelt, neglected to pay £107.00 to 2 workers.
- Lin Chinese Takeaway Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent, neglected to pay £103.00 to a worker.
- Mr Assad Madani trading as Donapapa Pizza, Durham, neglected to pay £101.64 a worker.
The current National Minimum Wage rates are:
Adult rate (21 and over) – £6.50 per hour
18-20 year olds – £5.13 per hour
16-17 year olds – £3.79 per hour
Apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour
The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16-18 and those aged 19 and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.
Source – Northern Echo, 24 Feb 2014
More than 250,000 workers in the UK are being cheated out of the legal national minimum wage by unscrupulous employers, a damning new report reveals.
A new report from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Minimum Wage – Keeping up the Pressure, reveals that while the majority of employers are ‘happy’ to pay up, others are finding new ways to escape paying the legal minimum wage.
The findings may prove to be deeply embarrassing for the Tory-led coalition government, who claim to be “making work pay” and on the side of “hardworking people”.
> I doubt they are capable of feeling embarrasment or shame…
The national minimum wage rate is currently set at £6.50 per hour for workers over the age of 21, falling to £5.13 for 18-20 year olds, £3.79 for under 18’s and £2.73 per hour for apprentices.
However, the TUC says a minority of employers are adopting a ‘wide range of scams’ to avoid paying up: including under-recording hours, bogus self-employment, misusing interns and volunteers, charging for uniforms, not paying for travel between work sites during the working day, clocking workers off when there are no customers in the store or cafe, and employers vanishing to avoid minimum wage fines only to reappear under another name.
Apprentices are particularly likely to be underpaid, with figures suggesting as many as 120,000 people on apprenticeships are paid less than the legal requirement.
TUC says enforcement of the national minimum wage needs to ‘continuously improved’ and stronger punishments for employers who flout the law need to introduced, such as increasing the maximum fine from £5,000 to £75,000.
The report also calls for the appointment of 100 more HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforcement officers, the naming and shaming of employers who fail to pay at least the national minimum wage and better guidance for businesses.
The TUC has outlined a 10-point programme the next government should adopt to improve minimum wage enforcement:
- Restore the budget for raising awareness about the minimum wage to £1 million.
- Hire 100 more HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enforcement officers
- Better official guidance on the minimum wage so that employers know their responsibilities.
- Create legal gateways so that HMRC can share information about enforcement with local authorities and the transport regulatory authorities
- Name and shame all non-payers.
- Government to guarantee arrears if employer goes bankrupt or simply vanishes.
- Adopt a prosecution strategy targeted towards the worst offenders and increase maximum fine from £5,000 to £75,000.
- More targeted enforcement for high-risk sectors.
- Make government funding for training apprentices dependent on employers paying the minimum wage, and create a duty for training providers to check that the minimum wage is paid.
- Promote collective bargaining so that trade unions can deal with more minimum wage problems themselves.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Failing to pay the minimum wage is an antisocial act that squeezes those workers who have the least. There should be no hiding place for cheapskate bosses who try to cheat their workers out of the minimum wage.
“We must engage in a constant battle to ensure that every worker gets at least the minimum. It is clear that some employers are actively looking for new ways not to pay even the legal minimum.
“There should be a broad consensus between political parties, good employers and trade unions that the minimum wage must always be enforced effectively.
“We urge everyone to support the TUC’s plan for ensuring continuous improvement to the minimum wage system.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 08 Jan 2015
Benefit claimants are treated as “second class citizens” by Government officials, an MP is to claim.
Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah will call for an end to the “demonisation” of claimants, as she leads a Commons debate.
> Well, its nice to see that you’ve caught up, Chi, but this really isn’t anything new you know ? Still, general election looming and all that…
She will warn claimants are being mistreated by the Department for Work and Pensions, for example by having benefits stopped for no reason – and this can have a devastating effect on their physical and mental health.
And she will recall that she was largely bought up in a single-parent family in Newcastle which depended on benefits.
It follows claims that claimants are being “sanctioned” by Department staff, which means their benefits are stopped, without good reason.
> “Claims” ? Like there might be some doubt about it ?
Ms Onwurah will highlight the case of an IT worker who lost his job and applied “for every possible vacancy” but was sanctioned by the Jobcentre because his work search record was judged inadequate in the week his father died.
Speaking in advance of the debate, she said:
“Benefits claimants are by definition going through a tough time; they may have lost a job, have an illness or disability or are in low-paid or part time work, or they are caring for young children or relatives, making it harder to work.
“They need our support, our care, concern for and understanding of the challenges they face.”
Jobcentres and the HMRC offices that administer tax credits, are “vital public services that British citizens pay for with their taxes” and people who use them have a right to expect fair and respectful treatment, she said.
Ms Onwurah will point out that the number of people on benefits who abuse the system is a very small proportion, as estimates show that only 0.7% of welfare spending is lost to fraud in comparison with 1.3% lost to overpayment because of Department for Work and Pensions mistakes.
And she will ask why there is not more focus on catching tax evaders – when there are adverts on buses urging: “Think you know a Newcastle upon Tyne Benefits Cheat? Report them anonymously.”
Recalling her own childhood, the MP said:
“It was very hard for my mother who was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and also suffered breast cancer, not only because of our poverty but also because of her shame at taking hand outs.
“I am very glad she did not have to face the sort of vilification and abuse experienced now, abuse caused in part by a sustained campaign from some politicians on the right.
> Although lets not forget New Labour didn’t have such a good record either, and in some respects did the groundwork for the coalition’s excesses.
“Contrary to what many of them would imagine, I was brought up with a strong work ethic, and also to believe that the state would provide a robust safety net for those that needed it.”
> Now – what we really need to know is what will Labour do to rectify the situation should they win the general election ? Anything ? Nothing ?
Source – Newcastle Journal, 06 Jan 2015
Reposted from TUC website
#DecentJobsWeek: I love being a home care worker, but I hate the insecurity
Oh joy! Today I received a letter from HMRC stating I have been overpaid tax credits in relation to my childcare costs. I will have to pay back any money owed and may face a penalty for failure to inform them of a change in my circumstances. I would never knowingly claim money fraudulently, and I’m really not sure how I will ever pay back the money they are asking for.
This is the reality of zero-hours contracts.
I agreed a contract for childcare which included costs that were passed to HMRC tax credits department. But my hours changed, as they do every week. One week I may have 60 hours work and childcare may be near £300, others my hours may drop to 13, and…
View original post 583 more words
This article was written by Daniel Boffey, for The Observer on Saturday 22nd November 2014 20.28 UTC
The coalition’s record on low pay has come under attack as new figures revealed that not a single company has been prosecuted in the past year for paying less than the national minimum wage. Despite ministers’ claims that the government is getting tough on under-payers, the last successful criminal prosecution was in February 2013.
That was one of only two prosecutions during the government’s entire term of office to date, according to figures given to parliament. The cases involved the imposition of fines to the value of £3,696 on an opticians in Manchester and £1,000 on a security company in London.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for the Office for National Statistics recently found that about 287,000 workers were paid at less than the minimum wage in 2012, although the TUC puts the figure closer to 350,000.
Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, the charity that runs 400 emergency food banks, said that the increasing numbers of people attending its facilities was clear evidence that ministers needed to do more to protect people who were living “on the edge”.
The number of people helped by Trussell Trust food banks in the first half of the 2014-15 financial year is 38% higher than in the same period last year. The trust reported this weekend that 492,641 people were given three days’ food and support, including 176,565 children, between April and September. That compared with 355,982 during the same period in the previous year.
Problems with the social security system continued to be the biggest overall trigger for food bank use (45%), of which “benefit delays” accounted for 30% of referrals, and “benefit changes” 15%, according to the charity.
However, an emerging trend, according to the charity, is that 22% of those helped were referred because of “low income” compared with 16% of referrals in the same period last year – meaning 51,000 more people were referred to a food bank due to low income.
“It is up to the democratically elected parliament to make some decisions and one route is to make it less easy for people to be exploited at the bottom of the labour market. We see people forced to cycle in and out of poverty and they are so close to the edge that it is easy for them to slip under.”
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said that it prosecutes the most serious breaches of the national minimum wage “and where there is clear evidence to do so”. A spokesman said the average cost of a successful prosecution was around £50,000 and that HMRC believed it was preferable to recoup wages for workers through civil penalty powers. In 2013-14, HMRC conducted 1,455 investigations and issued 652 financial penalties.
But the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna MP, said that the coalition was not taking the action needed to enforce the minimum wage. Failing to pay the minimum wage was made a criminal offence in 2007. Under Labour, seven organisations were prosecuted, including Torbay council.
“The national minimum wage is one of Labour’s proudest achievements in government and it has made a huge contribution to making work pay, boosting living standards and tackling in-work poverty.
“It is clear that the Tory-led government is not going to take the action needed to properly enforce the minimum wage – so that is why Labour is clear that we need to see higher penalties for rogue companies who don’t pay employees the minimum wage and far more effective enforcement, including by giving local authorities new powers.“
An HMRC spokesman said that the number of staff enforcing the minimum wage now stood at 194 – 40 more than in 2009-10. He said:
“Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal and, as HMRC’s record shows, if employers break the law they will face tough consequences. We conducted 1,455 investigations in 2013-14, securing over £4.6m in wage arrears for over 22,000 workers.
“The vast majority of national minimum wage cases are dealt with using civil penalty powers, as this route is usually the most appropriate, ensures workers receive the wages they’re due, and provides the most cost-effective resolution for taxpayers. However, in more severe cases, HMRC will take criminal action and seek a prosecution.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 22 Nov 2014
Officials have agreed not to pursue dozens of ex-miners who had not paid enough tax, says a miners’ leader.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) launched an investigation after Durham Miners’ Association raised concerns about the number of members who had been issued with demands for underpayment of tax.
Some members were told they owed as much as £2,000.
HMRC concluded that the underpayments had arisen because assumption had been made in relation to how much contribution-based Employment Support Allowance former miners had received.
The figures were too low which meant there was an underpayment of tax.
Alan Cummings, chairman of Durham Miners’ Association, said he held discussions with senior tax office staff regarding the underpayment and it was agreed that HMRC would not pursue the money owed in these cases.
Mr Cummings said the demands had come as a shock to former miners, many of whom were on low incomes and would have faced hardship through no fault of their own had they had to pay.
He added: “This has caused a lock of shock and concern among people who aren’t on much money.
“It has affected people who are often on particularly low incomes and maybe aren’t in the best of health.
The former miner contacted Easington MP Grahame Morris asking him for help.
Mr Cummings said an article would be included in a forthcoming Durham Miners’ Newsletter requesting members to check that their weekly Employment Support Allowance payments matched the figures that HMRC are using.
The problem appeared to affect former miners who were in receipt of contribution-based employment support allowance and were also receiving a mineworkers’ pension.
Mr Cummings said in previous years tax was taken from the employment support allowance through the PAYE system without problems.
Any member who has already paid the tax underpayment demand should contact Mr Cummings at the area office with their details.
A spokesman for HMRC said they could not comment on individual cases.
Source – Northern Echo, 07 Nov 2014
This article was written by Tom Clark, for The Guardian on Tuesday 4th November 2014
The occupational pensions of MPs, ministers and the prime minister could be classified as welfare spending in the tax transparency statements that George Osborne has promised every taxpayer.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is writing to millions of tax-paying households with detailed figures on how the government spends their income tax and National Insurance contributions. Welfare is recorded collectively as the single largest expenditure, consuming nearly one pound in every four.
This presentation has been criticised as a politically motivated departure from Treasury officials’ original plan to break down social security into the components paid to different parts of the population, such as elderly, disabled and unemployed people.
By revealing that payments specifically earmarked for the unemployed, for example, represented only 3% of the total, this approach may have set back Osborne’s case for a fresh £12bn in benefit cuts.
Now experts are drawing attention not only to the lack of differentiation in the welfare chunk of spending but also to the inclusion of substantial elements of spending that would not normally be considered welfare at all, notably personal social services and public sector pensions. Even ministerial pensions are likely to be covered.
The Treasury said: “The headings in our tax summaries are based on internationally recognised (UN) definitions.” But in a briefing note published on Tuesday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies detailed how the welfare total included £28.5bn on “personal social services”.
“This is a number that in many analyses one would want to report separately from other welfare spending,” the IFS said. “Unlike other elements of ‘social protection’ it is not a cash transfer payment and in many ways has more in common with spending on health than spending on social security benefits.
“Another £20bn of the spending counted under welfare is pensions to older people other than state pensions. That includes spending on public sector pensions – to retired nurses, soldiers and so on. This is not spending that would normally be classed as welfare.”
Declan Gaffney, a social security researcher, said the inclusion of public sector pensions was bizarre.
“The Treasury needs to clarify exactly how it arrived at these figures, and publish the workings – spelling out exactly whose pensions it included. Does it, for example, include MPs and the prime minister himself?”
Gaffney has used IFS tables to calculate a more conventional figure for total welfare less state pension expenditure, and concludes that the government’s choice of definition inflates the published welfare spending total by around 40%.
The Treasury did not respond to a question about whether the pensions of MPs, ministers and the prime minister would be classified as welfare.
A spokesman for PCS, the civil service union, said:
“Tens of thousands of civil servants work hard to deliver social security support and they know how important and necessary it is. For their pensions to be hijacked as part of the government’s latest political attack on our welfare state is absolutely disgusting and it exposes just how far ministers will go to poison the well of public opinion.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 04 Nov 2014
A miners’ leader has called for an investigation after miners were left owing hundreds of pounds in unpaid tax.
Alan Cummings, chairman of Durham Miners’ Association, said he had received more than a dozen calls in two days from worried ex-miners who had received PAYE calculations stating they owed between £300 and £900.
The problem appeared to affect former miners who were in receipt of contribution-based employment support allowance and were also receiving a mineworkers’ pension.
Mr Cummings said in previous years tax was taken from the employment support allowance through the PAYE system without problems.
However, he believed there had been an error which meant the system had not taken tax from ex-miners for the 2013/14 tax year.
“For some reason something has gone badly wrong and the tax hasn’t been taken off,” he said.
“We now have people who have received tax demands for several hundred pounds and they want to know why the system has failed.”
He added: “This has caused a lock of shock and concern among people who aren’t on much money.”
Mr Cummings said he was talking to HMRC to find out why the problem had occurred.
The former miner has contacted Easington MP Grahame Morris asking him for help.
“This is affecting people who are often on particularly low incomes and maybe aren’t in the best of health – it beggars belief that this has occurred,” Mr Cummings added.
HMRC stressed that it sent out tax calculations rather than tax demands.
Any money owed could be paid interest free from April 2015 until March 2016, using the PAYE system in 12 chunks.
If people needed further time to pay, it could be done over two or three years.
A HMRC spokesman added: “We are unable to comment on individual taxpayers. Anyone who receives a calculation which they believe is incorrect should contact us and we will do all we can to help.”
Source – Durham Times, 16 Oct 2014