Brown aims to learn from private sector mergers

Link: Revenue-Customs merger decision imminent

The review was delayed again this month after Brown asked Gus O’Donnell, the permanent secretary to the Treasury undertaking the review, to study the example of recent mergers in the private sector.

The chancellor asked for more information, in particular which other countries have merged tax departments as well as in the private sector, a spokesman for Customs said. He went on to say that it was all part of Brown’s ‘cost-benefit analysis’.

Despite the government’s refusal to be drawn on whether a merger will go ahead, all the signs suggest it will.

This week’s news that 1,200 Customs drugs officers will join SOCA in 2006 fits in with the likely timings for any merger. Customs is also moving offices later this year to join the Inland Revenue in Whitehall, and the latter’s decision to replace IT supplier EDS with a consortium of Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young and Fujitsu will make the integration of IT systems far more straightforward.

On top of this, Sir Nick Montagu, chairman of the Revenue, is to resign in March, and Customs & Excise has still not appointed a permanent chief following the resignation of Sir Richard Broadbent last year.

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