Dead Men Left

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tax credits: design flaws

As a brief follow-up to the post here, a revealing buck-passing moment at the Parliamentary enquiry into the tax credits scandal. The official government line was to blame "mismanagement" and faulty IT, not poor design, for overpayments and the subsequent hounding of claimants. David Varney rather blows the lid on that one:

David Varney, chairman of Revenue & Customs, was later questioned by the committee, and surprised some MPs by telling them he could not accept the ombudsman's verdict of maladministration. Overpayments were "an intrinsic part of the system that parliament approved".

He's right. Tax credits are a direct result of the "Third Way": the freakish idea that markets, if prodded and cajoled, can be relied upon to produce social justice.