IT is shameful that a Government policy should drive people to such a depth of despair they contemplate taking their own lives.
Yet such is the case with the reviled and destructive loan charge. Critics say the loan charge is retrospective and has left many facing financial ruin, as they have received unexpected tax demands of up to tens of thousands of pounds dating back to the late 1990s which must be paid by April.
MPs who have examined the impact of this grossly unfair imposition have found that 40 per cent of people facing it have considered suicide and a third have needed medication or counselling to cope with its impact.
There could not be a more damning indictment of the loan charge and the terrible consequences this ill-thought-out and harmful policy is wreaking on people hit by unexpected and retrospective bills.
Coming as it does on top of harrowing testimony from those facing ruin, it is more than ever clear that the rollout of the charge must be suspended immediately. As the Federation of Small Business national chairman Mike Cherry pointed out, concluding the independent review and thoroughly assessing its findings may take months, if not years. In that time even more damage will be done to families up and down the country.
Boris Johnson has already acknowledged the need for a review, which is now under way, but that does not go far enough – especially as the inquiry will not report back until a new Government is formed following the General Election in mid-December. Lives simply cannot be put at risk by pressing ahead regardless with a policy that is condemned by politicians, business leaders and affected individuals alike.