TaxAdministrationTaxman forced to defend CFO’s payoff

Taxman forced to defend CFO's payoff

House of Commons criticises HMRC for giving its CFO an £88,000 payout for breaking his contract

HMRC

The taxman’s CFO was granted an £88,000 payout when he left
HM Revenue &
Customs
, despite leaving by ‘mutual agreement’.

The payment drew the criticism of the House of Commons Treasury Sub-committee
last week, which lambasted senior officials at HMRC.

The sub-committee questioned HMRC management, including chairman Mike Clasper
and chairman and permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett over the payout to
Stuart Cruickshank.

The sum is believed to include costs for Cruickshank’s legal advice and
‘outplacement counselling’.

Cruickshank’s tenure in the position was fleeting, having only begun in
December 2006.
George Mudie, Labour MP for Leeds East, pressed officials for an explanation,
saying, ‘If we are paying somebody £88,000 to break their contract … they
should be paying us.’

Hartnett told the committee that Cruickshank had not necessarily wanted to go
‘at that time’ and agreed to provide further details of the payout. ‘We needed a
chief finance officer committed to HMRC,’ he said, adding that he had left by
‘mutual agreement’.

Mudie said HMRC should declare details of termination provisions in HMRC
contracts, including that of newly appointed chief executive officer Lesley
Strathie.

Hartnett said Strathie is under a normal civil service contract.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, condemned the
payout. ‘This is a large bill that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay. The payout
also sets a damaging precedent that contracts can be broken and you will still
be rewarded,’ he said.

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