MPs want power to veto appointment or dismissal of OTS chair

MPs should be given the right to veto the appointment or dismissal of the senior leadership of the Office of Tax Simplification, the influential Treasury Select Committee has said.

In a letter to new chancellor Philip Hammond, committee chair Andrew Tyrie urged the government to accept amendments to the Finance Bill that will “bolster the independence” of the OTS’s senior leadership and their accountability to parliament.

Previous chancellor George Osborne dismissed the recommendation that the appointment and dismissal of the OTS’s chair and tax director should be subject to the consent of the committee on the grounds that such independence would not be “proportionate to the function of the OTS”.

“The Committee disagrees. In order to be successful, the OTS must be in a position to provide you with robust, dispassionate and high-quality advice. That advice can only be improved if those charged with providing it are independent, and seen to be so,” said Tyrie.

“This issue sits independently of the breadth of their scope for making recommendations, which is clearly set out in the provisions of the Finance Bill that put the OTS on a statutory footing. An improved arrangement, that bolsters the independence of the OTS’s senior leadership, and entrenches their accountability to parliament, is needed.”

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