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HMRC staff fired for racism over benefits

Changed records to withhold payments

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Seven HMRC staff in Belfast have been fired for tampering with computer records to stop ethnic minorities receiving benefits.

The sackings yesterday followed the resignation of two more tax administrators when an internal investigation was launched earlier this year.

The nine men were accused of changing the tax records of ethnic minority individuals around the UK so they did not receive all the child benefit to which they were entitled, PA reports. Everyone affected has been reimbursed, HMRC said.

"The vast majority of our people are entirely professional and one of the ways we support that professionalism is by taking decisive action against the tiny minority who let us all down by falling far short of those standards," said Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax.

The audit was launched in January following a public complaint that records had been manipulated. Auditors extended their probe to include a further 16 cases.

All nine workers were suspended when the investigation was opened. ®

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