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It couldn’t be…

February 18, 2014

If you remember this time last year, you may recall that I put in a budget suggestion that HMRC should stop traumatising pensioners who have given a bit more to charity than the tax they paid.  If they declare gift aid greater than the tax deducted from their pensions, HMRC seems to think “Aha!  Tax gap target reduction!” and treat them like evaders.  I’m sure that’s not the intention of anyone who has given the situation a moment’s thought.  Nevertheless it seems (to me at any rate) to be the effect of cutting staff and increasing targets, so that people make up their statistics in any way they can in order not to fall foul of the idiotic performance management system.  So ill-advised and over-generous pensioners are an easy “quick win” for someone.

My budget suggestion?  Just stop it!

I said a bit more than that, of course (you can read the full thing here)

So I sent it in last year and… nothing happened.

Being incorrigibly curious, I then put in a Freedom of Information Act request to find out what had happened to it – envisaging a correspondence between one team and another that went something like

  • “Shall we do this?”
  • “Who did it come from?”
  • “That Bradley woman.”
  • “Oh well then; no.”

But actually what I got was something a bit more interesting…

Nothing.

They had no record of having received my budget submission, even though it had gone through the dedicated “portal” that they set up last year.  I asked them to go back and review the FoI request and they came back and said, in effect, no, honest guv, we can’t find anything anywhere.

How odd, I thought.

So this year, I put the same suggestion in again.  This year the arrangements are slightly different: you send the suggestion in to a dedicated email address (rather than through a web portal) and you were assured you’d get an automated response.

My email went in at 15.55pm on 14th February.  The closing date was 14th February, so by any stretch of the imagination I was within the deadline.  And I confidently awaited my automated response.

And waited…

And waited…

Yesterday, I sent a follow up email to the Treasury’s general correspondence address asking them to check, because I really would like someone to look AT the suggestion this year, rather than just FOR it!

This morning?  I get an email from the Treasury budget.representations@hmtreasiury.gsi.gov.uk address which reads:

Dear Ms. Bradley,

I can confirm the safe receipt of your budget representation.

Thanks,
George

Now, that’s NOT an automated response (because, several days late and personally addressed?)

And… George?  George???  It couldn’t be, could it…?

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