Single mum’s benefits were stopped because HMRC thinks she’s having an affair with the post office

The new man in Ms Balandis’s life: In fact, it’s the post office where she receives her benefits, as HMRC should know.

A single mum has had her benefits stopped because the taxman believe she is in a relationship – with her local SHOP.

Debbie Balandis, 40, was shocked to receive a letter from HMRC saying her £140-a-week child tax credits would be stopped because she had a new man, the Daily Record reports.

She immediately called the tax office and was told activity on her bank account showed a Martin McColl – the trading name for her local newsagent chain RS McColl.

Debbie Balandis with the letter from HMRC, accusing her of having an affair with her local post office.

The mum-of-two, from Glagow, tried to explain that she collects benefits from the post office at her local RS McColl and that was why the name appeared on her bank statements.

But she was told her weekly payments were being stopped until she can prove Martin McColl isn’t her live-in lover.

[She said:] “I begged HMRC not to leave me without a penny all because of a fictitious boyfriend.

“But they didn’t believe me and have now stopped my benefits for supposedly having an affair with the post office.”

Source: Single mum has benefits stopped because HMRC thinks local SHOP is her boyfriend – Mirror Online

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


25 thoughts on “Single mum’s benefits were stopped because HMRC thinks she’s having an affair with the post office

  1. marcusdemowbray

    The Post Office and Royal Mail were once effectively the same PUBLIC SERVICE run for the whole of UK’s benefit. They were artificially separated then the Post Office was sold to the private sector, followed by RM more recently. So one hand of our government sells things that belong to the country to PRIVATE companies, then fails to realise that private companies might just possibly want to use their own PRIVATE trading name. Buffle-headed dandiprats the lot of them!

  2. Jim

    What were HMRC doing spying on the poor woman’s bank statements? Does this go on systemically? With benefit claimants’ bank accounts being scrutinised without permission as a matter of course? Surely before a government department intrudes like this it should provide evidence as per a good reason for doing so?

    1. James Kemp

      Hi Jim,

      If you read the small print of benefits even local council stuff you give them permission to snoop in every facet of your life. Every bank account will be investigated and with the ripper act you will have people video taping you trying to trip you up.

      I discover this after being followed after leaving my local benefits office they sat outside my house for 6 days before giving up sorry i am boring and don’t abuse the system…

  3. Amanda

    I had nearly the same thing happen to me this May. It is an Australian privately contracted company called “CONCENTRIX” who are working on behalf of HMRC. They don’t care as long as they take you off Tax Credits. You have to stick to your guns. I was apparently co-habiting with – my daughter!!! They demanded all kinds of private documents – always the originals – and when you try to call them you wait for up to an hour and a half on the phone before somebody answers. It would be laughable if peoples’ lives didn’t depend on it.

  4. Neilth

    I too was under the impression that bank accounts are private. Naïve I know.

    More relevantly though this woman is being asked to prove a negative. Anyone with even the most fundamental understanding of science would know that this is impossible.

    The HMRC need to prove their assertion that Ms Balandis is in ‘a relationship’ . Further, they need to prove that that relationship involves the partner to be supporting her and her child in some financial way.

    Are the government telling people who are in receipt of benefits or tax credits etc that they are not allowed to have a life? Or are not allowed to meet new people and develop a relationship? Surely this is a step too far even for this vindictive mob?

    The UN and the Court of Human Rights have enshrined in law freedoms of association and rights to a personal/private life and this is an unwarranted intrusion.

    Yet another potential charge to be levelled in the international courts.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Obviously this post office IS supporting her, in that it is where she goes to draw out her GOVERNMENT benefits.
      So HMRC could point to this as proof, even though it is, quite obviously, ridiculous.

  5. jamesakirkcaldy

    “By any means necessary”. “A State for whom the ends always justify the means”. There is so much the public don’t know across nearly every sphere. It is going to be a very rude awakening.

  6. mohandeer

    As far as I understood a warrant is needed to access bank statements. The burden of proof should legally lie with the DWP since they have made unfounded accusations and cannot justify the removal of her entitlement without court proceedings. What has happened to people’s rights?

  7. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

    Concentrix is a large US Conglomerate which HMRC, in their wisdom, have sub contracted their tax credit work to, as they clearly cannot cope themselves.

    Louise Boyle, Director of HMRC, has her name clearly printed on all of the Concentrix letters but seems to take no responsibility for their actions or for the complete disarray that HMRC is in.

    You will find their bloated and undeserved opinion of themselves on their website at

    This is what happens when you involve private companies in the public sector – we’re all paying for this by the way!

    1. wildswimmerpete

      From Concentrix’ front page:

      “Best In Class Customer Engagement
      We provide the highest possible value for every customer interaction at every stage of your customer lifecycle.

      Maximize your customer eco-system through global resources
      Leverage process and technological innovation
      Improve your competitiveness and differentiation
      Experience global best practices coupled with local expertise”

      Anyone fancy a game of Bulls**t Bingo? Prime example of American corporatespeak.

  8. Dez

    Pity they don’t put the same energy into chasing the fat cats, non-doms,tax evasion multi nationals etc etc…..

    1. Paul C. Dickie

      Why should they?

      The greedy “fat cats”, tax avoiders and tax evaders have the money and resources to fight back, whereas most people in the UK do not.

      Hence, they’ll get their rewards from HMRC a lot faster if they ignore cases with any degree of complexity,

  9. funshaz1

    could someone clarify how collecting benefit from a post office ends up on a bank account record? please? and i believe every effort to force people ‘onto the internet’ and using the ‘disreputable banking system’ as the only means of payment or lose what you are entitled to, should be fought. not everyone has access to either. this should be lawfully challenged. but still, how does collecting something from a local post office end up on a bank account record?

    1. Paul C. Dickie

      R.S. McColl, or Martin McColl, is the firm providing the premises in which the Sub Post Office is situated. Either the withdrawal from her card account was stated to be at McColl’s and the idiots at Concen-tricks misread it, or the woman withdrew the money and then paid some of it into another account with a building society or bank with which the Post Office has an arrangement – and again the Contracen Tricks jerk misread it.

      Trying to get anything like common sense from those eejits is damn nigh impossible, She’ll have to go to her MP for it to be resolved but, as they’ll neither apologise nor recompense her, she should also ensure that a few Scots comedians are aware of the tale.

  10. Tim

    Didn’t Gordon Brown give government the right to snoop on benefit claimants bank accounts while Labour was in power although, supposedly, not to do so needlessly and indulge in random fishing trips to try to catch people out without good reason?

  11. mrmarcpc

    Having an affair? That’s rich coming from a bunch of cheating, lying, deviant scumbags who have affairs all the time, and not with consenting adults either! Any dirty trick they can think of for stopping your money, they’ll come up with it, what a bunch of utter filth they are!

Comments are closed.