Why’s my code changing if I don’t owe them anything?

Dame Vivienne Westwood's global empire has come under fire for saving money by hiring unpaid interns. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

LESLEY KEATING: You can be paid way beyond financially as an intern

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I find it astonishing that nearly four million people of working age in this country have never had a proper job.

This staggering statistic has shown the real extent of a problem that is costing us taxpayers billions a year.

The number of those who have never even had a part-time job is equivalent to more than four times the population of Birmingham. More than a third of these are young people aged between 18 and 24.

Recently, I received a P800 in the post from the tax office. It had been redirected from an address that I last lived at more than four years ago and, according to the not so nice Mr Taxman, I had underpaid my income tax by £674 by claiming a whopping £877 Jobseeker’s Allowance.

I have never claimed this as I have always worked for my living.

So, with a considerable amount of indignant steam building up, I hot-footed it down to the Job Centre Plus offices in Arundel Street, Portsmouth to try to sort out my plight.

Despite asking the receptionist (who had a burly security guy) to speak to someone about it, I was pointed to the phones.

A woman was just finishing her call and passed the phone to me in tears. She was in distress because she had been told she ‘wasn’t on the system’.

Another irate gentleman slammed his phone down in temper and stormed off. To cut a long story short, I made three calls lasting an hour and got cut off each time when I failed to answer the security questions correctly.

They then rang me back and explained I would now have to write to head office in Southampton to get a letter to say I had never received any Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I should then forward to the tax office.

Having done all this, two weeks on I’m still waiting. I won’t hold my breath for them to sort it out any time soon though.

I refuse to have my tax code changed to basic rate when I don’t owe them anything and I’m certainly not giving any more to those jobless people who claim benefits and yet have iPhones, laptops and 50-inch TVs to watch Jeremy Kyle.

I know that there are genuine people that desperately want to work, but there are also plenty that milk the system.