Call for reform on working tax credits by woman who says the changes made her feel suicidal

CAMPAIGNER: Jill Hordle, who wants the Government to reform the working tax credits system

CAMPAIGNER: Jill Hordle, who wants the Government to reform the working tax credits system

First published in News by

A WEYMOUTH woman has called on the government to reform the working tax credit system after admitting cuts to her benefits left her feeling suicidal.

Jill Hordle, 57, works 18 hours a week at two different jobs, but because she is a single adult with no dependent children, she is not entitled to any tax credits.

This means she cannot claim any job seeking benefits and is no longer receiving the Working Tax Credit – a payment of up to £800 spread over 12 months – because she does not fit the criteria.

Ms Hordle said: “I think the government needs to look at the system and to just start again, restructure it all.

“The working tax credits should be there to help anyone who wants to work. There are hardly any jobs in this area that offer 30 hours a week. They are normally zero-hour contracts and are seasonal.”

Ms Hordle currently has a cleaning job and a Saturday job at Marks and Spencer. She said her nightmare started in 2011, when she was made redundant from her role as the Post Office Bureau manager at Weymouth’s WH Smith store.

Six months after losing her job, Ms Hordle was forced to sell her home and live on a friend’s sofa. She currently lives in a one-bedroom flat in Weymouth, but is looking to sell as she cannot afford to continue living there.

She added: “I have been so depressed about it all. It has kept me up at night thinking what am I going to do now, how am I going to pay this bill.

“I can’t afford hot water – that’s how bad it’s got. I can’t even put the heating on in the winter because it costs so much. I’ve felt suicidal so many times and I get so down about it all.”

Cllr Francis Drake, brief holder for social inclusion at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, agreed that Ms Hordle should be given more help by the government.

He said: “The government should look into the case properly and see if there’s any way they can help her. If she’s on 18 hours a week, working two jobs, she’s not going to be earning fantastic money. She would probably be entitled to some help.”

A spokesman for the Treasury, who deal with government policy on benefits, said: “The government is supporting those who work hard.

“We are committed to delivering a tax and welfare system that provides the right incentives for people to work and the best way to help people become more financially secure is to enable them to keep more of the money they earn.

“The tax credit system supports people on low incomes who are in work or whom have children and at the same time we have taken significant steps to reduce the tax burden for those on lower incomes.”

  •  Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, said that Ms Hordle’s situation was a ‘symptom of just how complex our tax-and-spend system has become’.

Mr Isaby said: “Taking with one hand via taxation and giving with the other through credits and benefits is nonsensical.

“It would make far more sense to simply leave the money with hard-working people in the first place.

“Arbitrary cliff edges on the number of hours worked or what wage people take home only muddy the waters. Until we have simpler taxes and benefits, we’ll continue to see perverse outcomes in the labour market.”

How to become eligible for working tax credit:

There is no set limit for income, but each case is decided individually as long as people fall into one of these categories: 25 to 59: Work at least 30 hours a week to get £800 credit a year.

60 or over: Work at least 16 hours a week to get £800 credit a year.

Disabled: Work at least 16 hours a week to get up to £2,935 a year.

Single with one or more child: Work at least 16 hours a week to get up to £1,990 a year.

Couple with one or more child: Work a combined 24 hours a week to get up to £1,990 a year.

Comments (7)

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6:49am Thu 7 Aug 14

Rocksalt says...

As usual , the Taxpayers Alliance ,(which is, of course, nothing of the sort), pops up with an opportunistic and half-witted remark. Someone working 18 hours a week won't pay any income tax and possibly no NI contributions. And this case it's inferred that the ladfy can't get any more hours, so talk of cliff edges is irrelevant.
As usual , the Taxpayers Alliance ,(which is, of course, nothing of the sort), pops up with an opportunistic and half-witted remark. Someone working 18 hours a week won't pay any income tax and possibly no NI contributions. And this case it's inferred that the ladfy can't get any more hours, so talk of cliff edges is irrelevant. Rocksalt
  • Score: 3

8:39am Thu 7 Aug 14

unexpected error says...

I find it hard to believe there aren't more jobs out there to fill in the income gap,18 hours a week is not very many hours. So what if it's only seasonal or zero hour contract work available, it's all income. At 57 should we be supplementing someones income? I bet we'd all like to only work 18 hours and get the government to top up the difference, Sorry if this sounds harsh but I would rather my tax gets spent on those who are sick or disabled and are unable to work.
I find it hard to believe there aren't more jobs out there to fill in the income gap,18 hours a week is not very many hours. So what if it's only seasonal or zero hour contract work available, it's all income. At 57 should we be supplementing someones income? I bet we'd all like to only work 18 hours and get the government to top up the difference, Sorry if this sounds harsh but I would rather my tax gets spent on those who are sick or disabled and are unable to work. unexpected error
  • Score: 10

10:20am Thu 7 Aug 14

cj07589 says...

Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires?
Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires? cj07589
  • Score: 4

12:01pm Thu 7 Aug 14

flowster says...

Surely if she lives alone and has no dependants there is no reason she can't work full time hours. There are jobs everywhere. Care homes, cleaning jobs, seasonal jobs.
Surely if she lives alone and has no dependants there is no reason she can't work full time hours. There are jobs everywhere. Care homes, cleaning jobs, seasonal jobs. flowster
  • Score: 5

9:02pm Thu 7 Aug 14

breamoreboy says...

cj07589 wrote:
Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires?
Up the minimum wage and the crippling levels of employers national insurance will almost certainly result in job losses, as the vast majority of jobs in this country are with very small companies.
[quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires?[/p][/quote]Up the minimum wage and the crippling levels of employers national insurance will almost certainly result in job losses, as the vast majority of jobs in this country are with very small companies. breamoreboy
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Fri 8 Aug 14

JamesYoung says...

breamoreboy wrote:
cj07589 wrote:
Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires?
Up the minimum wage and the crippling levels of employers national insurance will almost certainly result in job losses, as the vast majority of jobs in this country are with very small companies.
That's what they said when the minimum wage was introduced. It didn't happen.
I suspect the reason is that when you pay somebody a "sub survival" wage, you have to top them up in some way. That top up comes from the government, which means taxpayers - individual and corporate. Large companies can avoid these taxes through clever fiddling, but smaller companies take a bigger hit.
So provided that the tax bill shrinks as the minimum wage increases, then the net effect should be zero.
[quote][p][bold]breamoreboy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: Raise the minimum wage and stop tax credits altogether It's just another liebour vote rigging ploy. Surely there are other jobs suitable in the Weymouth area that would provide the income this lady desires?[/p][/quote]Up the minimum wage and the crippling levels of employers national insurance will almost certainly result in job losses, as the vast majority of jobs in this country are with very small companies.[/p][/quote]That's what they said when the minimum wage was introduced. It didn't happen. I suspect the reason is that when you pay somebody a "sub survival" wage, you have to top them up in some way. That top up comes from the government, which means taxpayers - individual and corporate. Large companies can avoid these taxes through clever fiddling, but smaller companies take a bigger hit. So provided that the tax bill shrinks as the minimum wage increases, then the net effect should be zero. JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

5:52pm Fri 8 Aug 14

JamesYoung says...

I've said it many times but capitalism in this country is entering its death throes. We flew back from Oslo yesterday and we checked in, deposited our bags, and cleared passport control without a single human interaction - everything is computerised now. On the one hand, that's a triumph of technology, but when you think about it, it is the displacement of human labour with machines. Ironically, because the cost of owning a machine declines when interest rates are low (because leasing costs are low), the low interest rate policy has probably accelerated the replacement of labour with machinery.
If you look back at the last 20 years, you'll realise that technology began to make us all poorer after about 1995. The workforce started to shrink as jobs were either offshored or people replaced and the consequence of this should have been a reduction in economic growth. It wasn't, because the New Labour morons (intentionally or unintentionally) made sure that we could all borrow to our hearts content against supposedly increasing house prices. Some estimates say that for every £1000 increase in your house value, you spend £100. So deliberately or otherwise, the government replaced earnings with debt (wages increased, but these increases were driven by debt based spending).
Now we are at a point where more and more jobs are being replaced. The government and media talk about a return to normal, but for many, there will be no return to normal. Hotel check ins, DIY and super market tills, airport passport control kiosks, airline check ins, manufacturing jobs, computer industry jobs - all are being replaced at an accelerating rate.
With wages dropping and debt drying up, the very companies that have cut labour costs to remain competitive must surely now reap what they sow - a loss of their customers.
I am fairly concerned about where we go from here.
I've said it many times but capitalism in this country is entering its death throes. We flew back from Oslo yesterday and we checked in, deposited our bags, and cleared passport control without a single human interaction - everything is computerised now. On the one hand, that's a triumph of technology, but when you think about it, it is the displacement of human labour with machines. Ironically, because the cost of owning a machine declines when interest rates are low (because leasing costs are low), the low interest rate policy has probably accelerated the replacement of labour with machinery. If you look back at the last 20 years, you'll realise that technology began to make us all poorer after about 1995. The workforce started to shrink as jobs were either offshored or people replaced and the consequence of this should have been a reduction in economic growth. It wasn't, because the New Labour morons (intentionally or unintentionally) made sure that we could all borrow to our hearts content against supposedly increasing house prices. Some estimates say that for every £1000 increase in your house value, you spend £100. So deliberately or otherwise, the government replaced earnings with debt (wages increased, but these increases were driven by debt based spending). Now we are at a point where more and more jobs are being replaced. The government and media talk about a return to normal, but for many, there will be no return to normal. Hotel check ins, DIY and super market tills, airport passport control kiosks, airline check ins, manufacturing jobs, computer industry jobs - all are being replaced at an accelerating rate. With wages dropping and debt drying up, the very companies that have cut labour costs to remain competitive must surely now reap what they sow - a loss of their customers. I am fairly concerned about where we go from here. JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

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