In the wake of "Hartnett-Gate", two new Commissioners have been appointed to HM Revenue & Customs.

According to Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell, Stephen Banyard, director general for personal tax and Simon Bowles, chief financial officer and Chartered Accountant will join the four Commissioners. Although there will soon be three Commissioners as Dame Leslie Strathie, chief executive officer away on long-term sick leave is set to retire due to ill health.

The new appointments have been made after MPs from the Public Accounts Committee interviewed HMRC’s Permanent Secretary Dave Hartnett and discovered that he had presided unchallenged over eye-watering decisions in relation to large corporates that have cost the taxpayer over ten billion pounds.  His fellow Commissioners apparently allowing this because he was the only one to claim a “deep knowledge of tax”. It is hoped that the new appointments will strengthen corporate governance.

Criticism of Mr Hartnett has been growing in recent years and there are indications that too much power is not a good thing. His motivation in making various sweetheart deals with companies such as Goldman Sachs and Vodaphone looks suspicious given that he held the title of "most wined and dined" of Whitehall’s mandarins and has been on travels internationally with his own press secretary.

 

 

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