Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Britain's Tax Fiasco

On Saturday 4th September, I blogged on the misplaced hilarity with which the BBC Today Programme greeted the outrage that has become the HMRC tax grab. The link is now available and that broadcast item may be heard from this link. Max Hastings in the Daily Mail hits the correct note as I quote from his column today, linked here as follows:

I am not much frightened of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or things that go bump in the night. But I am petrified of making a mistake about tax.


This is why the public is richly entitled to vent its anger about the PAYE fiasco. All the fear and penalties for error lie on one side of the counter — ours.

We would need the assistance of a powerful microscope to measure the chances that anyone on HMRC’s payroll above the rank of office cat will lose one hour’s pay, far less their jobs, after inflicting havoc on the lives of millions of innocent taxpayers.

It would be nice to suppose that the Coalition Government can carry out root-and-branch reform to make the HMRC once more an effective and trustworthy organisation.

This is, after all, the outfit that three years ago lost computer discs containing personal details of 25 million people.

Yet reform will be very hard. So desperate is the condition of Britain’s schools that employers of all kinds have difficulty recruiting office staff with basic literacy and maths skills.

This applies as much to HMRC as to the Department of Transport, British Telecom or Tesco.

Why should today’s young tax clerk be better equipped to do his sums than any other British school-leaver? Tony Blair and Gordon Brown expanded the state, created one of the most complex tax systems in the world and presided over the drastic deterioriation of our schools.

The best comment I have read so far to this article is the following:

The British people recently re-elected the same bunch of thieves and fiddlers that they knew had been robbing them blind for years and years. They will hand over their money to the revenue gathering arm which these corrupt politicians use to fleece them yet further without so much as a whimper. They simply haven't got any spirit or fight in them. Our ancestors would be deeply ashamed of this craven behaviour and how we kowtow to the bullying, bloated state.



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