'Potty' HMRC TREBLED the commission on offer to a disgraced tax credits contractor when they threatened to quit

HMRC was branded "potty" last night after it emerged it trebled the commission on offer to a disgraced tax credits contractor when they threatened to quit.

A damning report revealed the Taxman raised the bonuses available to Concentrix from 3.9 per cent of saved cash to 11 per cent because the firm moaned they were not making enough money.

The National Audit Office said: "Concentrix questioned the value of continuing the contract."

The decision in late 2015 came despite the firm missing half its monthly targets – and the HMRC’s savings from the deal tumbling from £1 billion to just £193 million.

At one point Concentrix was only answering 4.8 per cent of calls from struggling Brits within a five minute deadline.

And performance levels got WORSE after the new terms were signed with thousands wrongly losing their benefits for up to eight weeks at a time.

Furious MPs yesterday accused the Government of “throwing taxpayers money down the drain”. HMRC was forced to rip up the contract last year after the series of blunders.

At one point it loaned Concentrix 670 staff after call volumes at its centres were SIX TIMES higher than forecast.

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Lib Dem leader Tim Farron stormed: "The Concentrix contract was an utter disaster from start to finish. I don’t know any business that would get their commission trebled while seeing the savings they were supposed to make slashed by 60 per cent.

“This really is the epitome of a bad Government contract."

Labour’s Frank Field – head of the Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee – demanded his constituents who went without food after wrongly losing their money were “reimbursed”.

He said: “The final chapter of this devastating tale has now been published and it makes grim reading for the HMRC.

"My constituents who were wrongly denied cash to feed their children will totally relate to the catalogue of problems identified."

HMRC brought in Concentrix on a three year deal in 2014 to help investigate tax credit claims, help check for fraud and error.

It was also given the power to suspend tax credits – the first time such a degree of decision making had been given to a private company.

The NAO said Concentrix ended losing £20 million despite pocketing £32 million in commission.

A cross party group of MPs in December blasted HMRC chiefs for being "complicit" in the tax credit shambles – saying Brits had been forced to take out loans after having their benefits wrongly cut off.

At the time, Frank Field accused Concentrix of having a "cut first, think later" approach.

The HMRC last night reiterated it would not be entering into external contracts again.

A spokesman said: "HMRC terminated the contract with Concentrix when it became clear that it was not delivering the quality of service we expect for our customers."

 

 

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