Not quite a smoking gun. But still terrifying.July 10, 2012
The programme looked at HMRC’s Non-Execs – the Board members who aren’t civil servants, aren’t there in a management role, and are there to keep the organisation on track. As it says on the HMRC website:
HMRC looks to its Non-Executive Directors to:
- bring guidance and advice
- support and challenge management about the department’s strategic direction
- provide support in monitoring and reviewing progress
and it found that a couple of them had business interests that you could categorise as in the “interesting” end of the tax avoidance spectrum. One was director of a company which was located in Guernsey… and as I said on twitter at the time
“We are not in Guernsey for tax reasons”? I also have a rather nice bridge I could sell you if you’re interested…?
- Ian Barlow – KPMG
- Colin Cobain – Tesco
- Philippa Hurd – ITV
- Phil Hodkinson – HBOS
- John Spence – Lloyds TSB
and then compare them with, for example, the BBC’s Board of Trustees
The BBC includes former employees of the organisation, academia, politics and economics as well as big business. HMRC’s non-execs are, in contrast, almost painfully non-diverse. Where is the trades unionist (how about Liz (Baroness) Symons who was the first female General Secretary of the FDA union?) The former employee (how about Liz Bridge, former Tax Inspector and now construction industry taxation expert)? The economist (how about Richard Murphy)?
Are we really moving towards a society where tax is to be compulsory for the little people but optional for big business? Where tax policy making will be outsourced (and not to citizen groups)? Where the only people who are qualified to guide, advise, support and challenge HMRC are – bankers?