Reporter's anger at IR ruling

A
court reporter with 50 years’ experience is fuming after the Inland
Revenue said she could not claim the cost of a £1,350 digital hearing
aid she needs for her job against her tax bill.

Maureen Huggins,
69, of the Norfolk Courts Press Agency, was told that she could not
defray the cost of the earpiece because she wears it all the time and
it is not just needed for work.

But Huggins, who still uses a
typewriter and fax machine to file her copy from Norwich Crown Court,
says she does not wear it all the time and it is only the poor
acoustics at the court which have caused her problems.

Huggins,
who files stories to local newspapers and radio stations, said: “I only
wear it in court because the acoustics have become so bad.

“Very often I have members of the public asking me what’s happened in court because they can’t hear either.”

Huggins
added that there was a hearing device at the court but when she asked
for it she was told it was already in use or staff were too busy to
help her.

“I can hear normal conversations perfectly. Obviously
it’s quite important for me to hear what is going on in court or my
customers might start complaining.”

Huggins added: “Why should I have to fork out all this money?

“The radio stations pay me £10 per story and I would have to work until I am 100 to get the cost of the hearing aid back.

“I provide a full court reporting service and don’t charge travelling or meal expenses for what I do.”

She is considering an appeal against the Inland Revenue’s refusal.

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