Meltdown Britain - Tax Office Staff Ready to Rebel
HMR&C has been in a state of meltdown since well before the current government took office in 2010. Staff cutbacks launched by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown have weakened capacity to tackle Britain's yawning tax gap (see photo), and senior management have displayed extraordinary weak judgement, most recently in respect of the special deal done with Goldman Sachs. It was this deal, according to the Mail, which triggered the launch of Dissent:
"Dissent appear to have formed after it emerged the country’s top tax official signed off a deal which let investment bank Goldman Sachs off a £10million tax bill."
The official in question is David Hartnett, who has recently been the target of civil society demands for his resignation. Hartnett and his advisers are also responsible for the appalling agreement between switzerland and the UK, which appeases tax evaders while undermining international attempts to cooperate against organised tax evasion.
On this matter, the dissenters at HMR&C are clearly infuriated by the double standards of successive UK governments which crack down hard on (mainly less-well-off) benefit fraudsters, while doing nothing about (mainly wealthy) tax dodgers:
"We wish to speak out against the bad practice and double standards that operate in Revenue & Customs. We wish for a fair tax system that does not reward the wealthy elite and big business.
‘We have amassed a comprehensive database of personal information on staff members including expenses, benefits, conflicts of interest etc."
The tax justice agenda is deepening in unexpected ways. Revenue officials are better placed than most to expose tax injustices at the coalface. We hope the UK government will carefully review the complaints raised by the dissenters at HMR&C and take action against the causes of the complaint. Tax justice is a fundamental of parliamentary democracy, and when tax officials turn whistleblowers there are strong grounds for concluding that something rotten is at hand.
The original Mail article can be read here.