Taxman warned not to influence Poynter review

dave hartnett

Acting HMRC chairman Dave Hartnett

The government’s accounting watchdog has warned the taxman against
influencing PricewaterhouseCoopers’ investigation into the missing child benefit
data discs.

Appearing in front of the Treasury committee for the first time on Wednesday
afternoon, HM Revenue & Customs acting chair Dave Hartnett repeatedly said
that swingeing job cuts at the department were not to blame for the mass of
sensitive personal data to be placed on CDs and subsequently lost.

However, Labour MP Jim Cousins suggested that Hartnett’s statements could
prejudice PwC chairman Kieran Poynter’s review into HMRC’s processes and
controls: ‘We don’t want Poynter to be inhibited’.

Hartnett replied: ‘There is no intention of us being prejudicial. We will
take this issue to him.’

Hartnett also revealed that the estimated cost for stripping the data of
sensitive information – which had been suggested to be too expensive for tax
officials to remove before sending it to the National Audit Office – was about

More to follow.

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