Taking Stock: HMRC send in the Troup(s) to no avail

IT’S FAIR TO SAY it’s never a good day when you’re due to appear before the notoriously belligerent Public Accounts Committee, but the threat of a hefty bollocking becomes positively Damoclean when it’s not delivered and continues to hang over the subject.

That’s the position HM Revenue & Customs’ tax assurance commissioner Edward Troup found himself in at around 17.30 yesterday afternoon, having been called as a witness in the PAC’s inquiry into HSBC’s tax evasion scandal.

He patiently sat through more than two hours of Margaret Hodge and her committee calling on HSBC bosses to stop being “so ruddy evasive”.

“You’re evading the evasion,” the bankers were told to a ripple of laughter. 

After that and further accusations of incompetence – interrupted by an outraged and impassioned spectator – Troup was no doubt ready for his own fate, only for the committee to decide to “postpone until we see Mr Hartnett and see the two together… everybody’s had enough [today].”

TS can only surmise that’s a blessing – and a curse.

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