Taking Stock - One archaic system to turn into another.
As the Inland Revenue prepares to rake in millions of pounds from unfortunate individuals who either filed their tax returns late or were let down by the post or the Revenue itself for being slow in processing the paper work, accountants who spent last weekend hunched over a calculator can take comfort from one small speck of irony. The offices of the Revenue are to be turned into a museum. From 26 May one antiquated system of operation will be transformed into another, somewhat more attractive one. Somerset House is to become a museum complex, housing the Gilbert collection of decorative arts, treasures from the Hermitage in St Petersburg and new rooms from the Courtauld Gallery. Tax specialists will surely be delighted to hear that the Revenue and Treasury may eventually be kicked out of their own offices within the building, while in the more immediate future, even the car park is set to be reborn as a venue for open air events. Apparently the tarmac will disappear from the car park as granite and fountains will replace Fords. The building will become a ‘great river palace for the people, linking London’s monumental past with its hopes and dreams for the future’. It seems doubtful that anything related to ‘hopes and dreams’ can really take place while the albatross of the accountancy profession is still located in there. It appears that the backing for this great venture, some £48m, will come from the National Lottery funds, but TS wonders whether the inimitable Revenue may have offered a small contribution from its own winnings last weekend? ?: