Casework Update – March

May 12, 2014

In March I was pleased to be able help a number of constituents resolve specific issues they had raised in letters and at my surgeries.  A few of these cases are listed below:

1. A constituent was experiencing problems in his dealings with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) dating back to 2010. He was unhappy because HMRC refused his claim to have underpaid tax for 2010-11 to 2012-13 given up. Following my intervention, HMRC carried out a full review of what had happened. They agreed to give up the £3,180 tax they were asking him to pay. They also made a payment to apologise for the way they handled the matter; £75 by way of an apology for poor customer service; a further £50 to acknowledge the worry they caused my constituent; and an additional payment of £20 to cover his costs. My constituent was “over the moon” and his daughter wrote: “I would like to thank you for sorting out my father’s dilemma. All of your help and support was greatly appreciated and a weight off all our minds. Thank you for your kindness.”

2. An elderly constituent had problems with re-wiring at his home and several unresolved issues regarding his kitchen and relocation of his cooker. He felt that the proposed work as part of the Decent Homes upgrades was unnecessary and he could not cope with the resultant stress. He wanted the kitchen to remain as it is. I arranged for the work to be put on hold indefinitely and for a periodic electrical test to be carried out at his home. He was very grateful that the test was completed on a date and time convenient for him and that he could move on with the quiet enjoyment of his home.

3. A constituent complained about the quality of service and the manner in which he was spoken to during a telephone call to Jobcentre Plus’ call centre. I arranged for the call to be listened to by senior management. It was agreed that the agent had been rude and acknowledged that the agent should have dealt with the matter in a more professional manner. An apology to my constituent was arranged, and a reconsideration on my constituent’s disallowance for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was revised in his favour, and arrears of benefit were paid to him.

4. A constituent contacted me regarding her son, who suffers from severe multiple sclerosis (MS). Her son was looking for accommodation, and had been offered a bungalow by the Council.  However, this bungalow was in Jarrow and it was difficult for my constituent to visit her son there. I arranged for a his case to be reviewed and a bungalow was identified nearer to her. He is now happily resettled.  His mother wrote: “I would like to take this time to give you a massive thank you for taking the time to write on my son’s behalf. We are so happy that he has been offered the bungalow and they are going to adapt it to his needs. He will be beside his family. Thank you so much.”

If you have an issue you think I may be able to provide help with, you can either write to me at or visit one of my fortnightly surgeries.  My next surgery is on Friday 4th April. To arrange an appointment, please contact my office on 0191 427 1240.

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