A retired mineworker was left stunned when he received a bill saying he owed nearly £70,000 in unpaid tax.
Outsourcing firm Capita, which manages pensions for former miners across the district, has apologised after a blunder that resulted in thousands of former pit workers being told they owed thousands of pounds in unpaid tax.
David Hogg, 58 – an underground worker at Sharlston Colliery from 1979 until it closed in 1993 – was told he had to fork out £69,185 against his year’s pension.
Mr Hogg, from Pontefract, said: “I’m of sound mind and the letter I received was for a big enough amount that I knew know it wasn’t real, but if you’re an elderly person who may have dementia or someone with depression and you get a bill for £10,000 upwards it could really send you over the edge.
“In this age of technology and communication we should have been told within a day or so of having the letter that it was wrong but I still haven’t been contacted.
“You just want to see fair play and people being treated with dignity.”
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said around 17,000 ex-mineworkers had been wrongly told that they owed vast sums of money due to an “administrative error”.
She said: “I’ve had elderly people visit my constituency office worried sick that they owe tens of thousands in unpaid tax, despite the fact they’ve paid into the system all their lives. One man was told he owed £77,000. Who knows how many more will be sat at home worried and not knowing how they’re going to put food on the table or heat their homes in this cold spell.
“Letters of apology making clear that no money is owed need to be sent out as soon as possible.”
A Capita spokesman said: “Following a change to HM Revenue & Customs’ online PAYE portal, an incorrect update was made in processing information for members of the Mineworkers Pension scheme. This issue has been resolved and all members affected will shortly receive letters to advise that they do not need to take any action.
“We sincerely apologise for any concern and inconvenience this has caused.”