ACTION DESK: Tax delay left parents hungry

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THEY may be small, but babies are expensive – especially if mum and dad aren’t working.

So it was vital that Leroy and Emma Unwin’s claim for child tax credit was paid promptly after the arrival of little Cora Leigh.

The Foxhill couple, who receive a total of £85-a-week in benefits, were suddenly spending about £30-a-week on milk, nappies, wipes and so on.

Leroy, aged 37, said he applied to HM Customs and Revenue just two days after the birth. But after three weeks he enquired, only to be told his claim had been lost.

He put in another, but after another three weeks passed, he says was told it was on the system but not completed.

And when he asked for a hardship payment, HMRC said it wasn’t possible because ‘a verification screen had not been edited’, he claims.

Leroy said: “It’s just been so much stress. I’ve had to go without food just to make sure Cora and Emma have enough. I don’t know how anyone expects us to live on that money alone. I find it very disturbing they can let a newborn go without any money at all.”

WE rang HMRC and within three days a backdated payment of £550 was paid.

Leroy said: “Many thanks for taking the time to look into this for me.”

An HMRC spokeswoman said they were unable to talk about individual cases.

But she said that tax credits could be held up by several factors.