MPs attack ‘unjustified’ HMRC bonuses

The double-digit increase in bonuses paid to HM Revenue & Customs staff
has been attacked by Treasury Committee MPs, who are demanding an explanation
from the government.

Bonuses at HMRC for 2006/2007 climbed 60% to £7.7m for senior managers. The
total bonus pot for all staff was £18.9m, a 72% rise.

MPs are concerned that such large bonuses were been paid during a time of
headcount reductions and poor performance at the department.

Michael Fallon, Treasury sub-committee chairman, said: ‘HMRC appears to be
rewarding failure. Complaints about the tax credits system are at the highest
level for five years, there has been a considerable deterioration in its VAT
service and yet senior staff have received on average a 60 percent increase in
their bonus payments. These payments appear completely unjustified.’

The MPs called for HMRC and the Treasury to list all bonus payments alongside
other remuneration in annual accounts.

In its report on administration and expenditure in the chancellor’s
departments, the committee raised further concerns about the level of financial
expertise within government departments.

The report criticises the government for failing to appoint a qualified
finance head at each department by December 2006, as it had promised. The
appointment of Trevor Woolley as FD for the Ministry of Defence came in for
particular criticism.

‘I find it astonishing that the government has recently recruited a finance
director with no relevant professional qualifications to the Ministry of Defence
to run one of the most significant departmental budgets,’ Fallon said.

Further reading:

the full report here

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