The fabric of Britain as we know it is being ripped apart. So much is changing, almost behind our backs, we haven't got time to notice what is happening to us. And it is happening fast.

Friday, 9 December 2011

HMRC, Goldman Sachs and a brave whistleblower

If you haven't been following the inquiry into a series of highly controversial deals made by top brass at HMRC and big businesses then you have been missing out.

It sounds utterly boring doesn't it? Yawn, Yawn, Yawn - until you start actually looking at the figures involved.

David Hartnett (Permanent Secretary For Tax) is accused of lying to parliament about a deal he made with ginormous multinational bank Goldman Sachs, which resulted in a loss to the coffers of this country of £10m. Officials are also accused of allowing Vodafone to pay a mere £1.25bn tax bill rather than the £8bn they owed.

After reading this post I would love you to go and have a look at some of the heartbreaking stories on this site from people suffering - really, truly suffering as the cuts kick in, then come back and have a little look at those figures again.

Dave Hartnett, let me remind you, was also criticised by ministers for that fabulous little tax code disaster that happened last year - do you remember? That was when millions of people received a charming letter from the tax office telling them that HMRC had made a mistake's the bill. It beggars belief that this man is still in office.

All of this would have probably passed me by, if it wasn't for the latest piece of work by HMRC.

Osita Mba, a solicitor at HMRC, blew the whistle on Hartnett's grubby little deal and has been giving evidence to the committee set up to look into the accusations of incompetence and a lack of accountability levelled at the organisation.

So what have HMRC done?

"An HMRC spokesman said it had begun an inquiry into Mba and confirmed that this could lead to his dismissal and prosecution."

Isn't that just brilliant? It's almost like a joke - the reason that disciplinary action can be taken is that

"Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2004 states that information held by the organisation must be held purely for the business of the organisation"

In essence, what happens at the HMRC stays at the HMRC.

You can find out more here -

and join the twitter campaign using the hashtag #ositamba

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  1. Great article and a massive mind-fuck. I cannot get my head round the thinking. Why let big business off their big tax bills and make up the shortfall by taking money off the poorest and most disadvantaged in our society? And of course everyone who's feeling the squeeze in the middle. They're getting it too.

    Makes me rage-y


  2. Quite right.

    To them that hath, let them be given more. To them that hath not -well, who gives a fuck about them?

  3. Well, we're all in it together, aren't we?

    Aren't we?

  4. 99% of us are in the 'it'. I think this government need to be nervous - the internet wasn't around in the 80's.
    How I resent paying an inflated mortgage because the economy was left to boil and yet pay through my wage over again for their mistakes. Whilst the banks made their profits back in a year with x% profits on those mortgages.
    Christmas bonuses are going out again as we speak....I could cry.
    Tax the 1%.

  5. I see, according to today's Guardian, that Mr Hartnett is to retire, with a pension pot worth some £1.7m. I quote:

    "He is expected to receive an annual payout of up to £80,000 and a lump sum on retirement of one year's salary, which is recorded as £160-165,000"

    Good job.


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