Wednesday, 16 November 2011

UK Uncut pay a visit to Dave Hartnett

Dave Hartnett is the Permanent Secretary for Tax in the Civil Service. In other words, he's the government's chief tax-man. Clearly, Dave's passion for collecting Tax from ordinary people won him his high ranking, £160,000 a year job; after a series of embarrassing errors, the Tax department sent letters out to over a million people demanding they make up for the Tax department's mistakes within just 3 months, or else they should face penalty charges & start paying interest (I'm not aware of the 1.4 million who were owed a refund being able to impose the same conditions on the Civil Service). Not everyone budgets to allow for high ranking civil servants' incompetence, so this caused real pain for ordinary families.

However, it seems Dave's passion for tax collecting does not apply to large corporations. After personally signing off on a deal to let off Goldman Sachs from £10m, he lied to the Treasury Select Committee about it. To quote from the Telegraph;

"Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said to him: "It seems to me you lied when you told the Treasury Select Committee on 12th September that, and I quote, 'I do not deal with Goldman's tax affairs'... we had access to a meeting on 8th December in the offices of your lawyers where it is stated that you had settled and had in fact shaken hands on a deal on their tax affairs."

"I did not lie," Mr Hartnett said. "I did not deal with Goldman Sachs tax affairs in the normal sense."
Ms Hodge said that Mr Hartnett was "playing with words" and his denials were "laughable." She told him: "It appears that £10m was lost to the taxpayer because of a deal you did with Goldman Sachs. We were ripped off."

The Goldman's deal is just the tip of the iceberg. Dave probably thought Goldman's £10m was just small change after he cut a 'sweetheart' deal forgiving Vodafone for their £6billion tax intransigence (Apologists to purists for citing the Daily Maily).

The inconsistency of his viewpoints seems a little strange, don't you think? Someone so eager to claw money back from the general public is, at the same time, more than willing to forgive enormous multinational corporations from billions of pounds of tax?

The apparent strangeness of Dave's inconsistent behaviour loses a lot of his mystery when you learn, one simple fact:

Dave Hartnett is the most wined and dined Civil Servant in the country.

From January 2007 to November 2009 we have 107 documented cases of Dave being taken out by big business and its institutional buddies (the second highest was a still high, but much lower 89). In other words, about every 8 or 9 days, Dave had his luxurious love of 'food and wine' (according to his Who's who) paid for by none other than the very people whom he was responsible for collecting tax from. Now we're told, this isn't a conflict of interest since, in HMRC's words, ... "If you are a jockey, you have got to get on to the racecourse." I personally can't get my head round this one, so readers please feel free to explain!

Go ahead, take a look at the data. It was collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit body based at City University London.

Dave Hartnett has been taking exorbitant subsidies for his expensive tastes. In return, he's been scamming the UK taxpayer, which includes its ordinary people and its entrepreneurs, small businesses and even the large businesses that plays by the rules.

This practice needs to end. Dave Hartnett needs to resign.

UKUncut recently paid him a little visit - this is a must see video - at a corporate tax event!

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