Mum ‘went without food’ after tax credit mix-up

Sarah Gibson with her children, clockwise from front left; Casey, 9, TJay, 10, Josh, 7, Demi, 5, and Chloe aged 14. Sarah says she has gone 14 weeks without any Child Tax Credit.

Sarah Gibson with her children, clockwise from front left; Casey, 9, TJay, 10, Josh, 7, Demi, 5, and Chloe aged 14. Sarah says she has gone 14 weeks without any Child Tax Credit.

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A FAMILY of seven was left more than £2,500 short after a child tax credit mix-up.

Sarah Gibson, 35, from Waskerley Road, Barmston, claims to have gone days without food in a bid to ensure her children ate, having not received any child tax credit since January 23.

Sarah had been claiming £242.14 per week for five of her children, but problems started when her eldest daughter, 14-year-old Chloe, moved back to the family home from her grandmother’s.

When Sarah tried to add Chloe to her claim, all payments stopped, leaving the family in a perilous financial position.

She was threatened with eviction and warned she could lose much of her furniture, including her children’s beds, her television and the computer which the family got for Christmas, because she could not kept up her weekly payments.

The mum resorted to using loan sharks and relying on hand-outs from the charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to survive.

But after contacting the Echo, her situation was resolved within days, with Sarah getting all the money she was owed and confirmation that her payments would restart from next week.

“It’s like a huge weight’s been lifted,” she said.

“I don’t know how we’ve managed, really.

“It’s nice not having to think what you’re going to feed your kids and where you’re going to get it from.

“I didn’t let the kids know how bad it is. They’d sometimes ask me why I hadn’t eaten anything for tea, but I’d just tell them I’d eaten already while they were at school.

“I didn’t really know anyone around here to help me, and if it wasn’t for CAP, I don’t know what I would have done.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment on specific cases due to customer confidentiality. However, we understand that the matter has now been resolved with the customer.”

CAP invites anyone with debt problems to contact it on its freephone number 0800 328 0006.

People can also visit www.capuk.org for more information.