Thursday, November 10, 2011

HMRC's Hartnett thanked for his largesse to corporate interests

News has reached us that UK Uncut and students from the University of London forced HMRC boss Dave Hartnett to abandon a keynote speech at the Tax Journal Conference after staging a mock thank-you celebration from top tax dodgers.

The students, dressed as executives from Vodafone and Goldman Sachs, entered the main auditorium just after Hartnett had begun speaking.

Having made their way up to the stage, they presented the embattled HMRC boss with bottles of wine, flowers and champagne as a mock ‘thank you’ for his role in letting the firms off billions of pounds in tax.

A blushing Hartnett, the most wined and dined civil servant in the country, was forced to leave the stage as the ‘executives’ continued to sing his praises.

Hartnett has come under increasing fire for striking backroom deals with mega-rich corporations that have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds at a time of austerity.

As recently as Monday, Britain’s top taxman was dragged in front of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee for a third time to answer questions on the dodgy deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs that cost the taxpayer up to £6bn and £10m respectively. The session ended with Hartnett being forced to deny he had plans to resign.

University College London student Katie Clarke said: “Dave Hartnett signed off Vodafone’s £6bn tax dodge. That money could have prevented not just the cuts to higher education, but all of the cuts in public services over the past year. If Hartnett had a shred of self-respect he’d resign immediately.”

UK Uncut supporter Greg Tomasson said: “HMRC has just announced it will be going after 146,000 pensioners to demand hundreds of pounds from them following a tax code cock-up. Meanwhile, its boss is striking secret deals with mega-rich corporations to let them off billions of pounds in tax. Hartnett has brought the UK’s tax system into disrepute and he has to go.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great action but please do be careful with the facts - reports are that Hartnett was not forced off after all, but carried on with his speech after the protesters left. If we can't get basic facts right our message will be lost.

1:57 am  
Blogger TJN said...

TJN - this blog was submitted by activists who were at the event. They do not say whether Hartnett later returned to resume his speech.

2:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry; another anonymous here... I'm afraid anonymous 1 has a point; every other news source reports that Hartnett finished his speech, and even went on to (almost)criticise big business - eg (AccountancyAge) Isn't his point just the message people should be hearing?

3:34 am  

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