Hands up who is paid to be here

UNUSUALLY for a Treasury committee evidence session on HM Revenue & Customs’ performance, the committee room in Westminster was packed.

Indeed, TS suspected that the 50 metre queue outside Portcullis House was a direct result of people wanting to watch the top brass at the Revenue facing the public stocks.

It was even a struggle to find a seat. The only explanations were surely that there were an awful lot of disgruntled taxpayers out there, or even the national press wanting to stick the boot in.

But there was another explanation. Having seen another note being passed to permanent secretary Dave Hartnett, deputy headmaster Andrew Tyrie stopped proceedings.

“How many people here are members of HMRC?” he asked. No-one out of the 32 people in the public stands put their hand up. Tyrie must have felt foolish.

Until one brave soul put his hand up. Followed by a couple more. Then a couple more. By the end, 14 people had their hand up. Which, perhaps, slightly undermined the taxman’s argument that it needs more resources…

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