HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Shades of Nelson

Shades of Neslon
Dave "Nearly Man" Hartnett evoked memories of Nelson's "I see no ships" during a recent "guest" appearance at a discussion in the House of Commons.

Despite the fact that nearly 15,000 staff have resigned from HMRC since the merger in 2005 (3,000 ahead of HMRC's target), Hartnett (now permanent secretary for tax at HMRC) said he was not aware of any forced redundancies.

"There have been no compulsory redundancies that I'm aware of in the last few years."

There are of course many ways to make someone resign, as Hartnett knows, without having to fire them.

Ironically, despite this mass exodus, HMRC's operating costs are up by £192M.

Jim Cousins MP, like many others, is somewhat baffled by this contradiction.

Hartnett, whne questioned about it, said that there were "any number of reasons" (ie he didn't know) for the cost problems "to do with the running costs of IT systems and child benefits".

Hartnett may well have evoked memories of Nelson, but he and the other two on the "committee of three" who claim to now be in charge of HMRC are most certainly not modern day versions of Nelson.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. "Child benefits" He must have a valid point on that one. Brownstuff's ridiculous overcomplicated tax credits system needs to be removed from their remit or better still, scrapped. Are there any figures for the manhours spent on it?

    I think many of the basic problems come right from the top of government, from that leftist, statist, constantly meddling idiot at No 10.

  2. As Ken seems to have missed out the source on this one (he's a busy man, after all), I assume he's referring to this:

    If you look at HMRC's 2007/08 accounts (, and turn to page 39, which is the one Jim Cousins refers to when he asks about "operating costs", you'll see that the figure in question includes the actual payment of Child Benefit (i.e. the money actually paid out to parents), which has gone up by just over half a billion pounds!

    Now we can blame Cousins for asking a question whose answer is relatively obvious from looking at the accounts, or we can blame Hartnett for not being immediately able to set him right on the basis of a quick look at the accounts (during a high-profile committee hearing, when he was probably assuming that the Honourable Gentleman would not be asking such an uninformed question). However, I think it's probably fair to forgive them both on this one. After all, neither of them has an accounting qualification!