Tabloids lay into government over HMRC data loss

It’s unusual enough for the broadsheets to agree on any issue, let alone have
a consensus among themselves – and the red-tops as well.

But the loss of 25 million individuals’ records by HM Revenue & Customs
has certainly proved to be an issue on which they can all agree, albeit with
their own take on the matter.

The Daily Mail said that if ministers thought HMRC chairman Paul
Gray’s resignation was enough action after the data loss then they ‘must think
again’. Echoing shadow chancellor George Osborne’s line, they call for
government to ‘get a grip’.

The Mirror’s ‘man in the corridors of power’ Kevin Maguire said
Labour MPs were openly speculating about who would succeed chancellor Alistair
Darling if he survived to next summer’s cabinet reshuffle. He called for Ed
Balls, who topped the Accountancy
Top 50 Financial Power List
for 2007, to salvage ‘Labour’s
valuable record for economic competence’.

‘Mr Darling is undoubtedly in trouble,’ proclaimed The Sun, but then
backed him by saying that he had inherited a system ‘already plagued by
catastrophic failures of management’. They flagged up that Gray had presided as
chair during the £2bn tax credit gap.

The Daily Express called ministers ‘clueless’, and that Darling
looked like a ‘broken man’ – but agreed with The Sun that there was ‘little
point’ calling for him to resign. The Express differed with The Sun in calling
for prime minister Gordon Brown to resign as he was to blame.

Blaming Brown for the state of public finances, ‘fury’ over IHT, altering
occupational pensions and the system of financial deregulation that led to the
Northern rock debacle, the Express said: ‘He is also the author of the merger
between the Inland Revenue and Customs which may have caused the administrative
chaos behind the child benefit catastrophe.’

Further reading:

HMRC’s data loss: what the papers

Darling: HMRC merger and job cuts
not to blame for data loss

Advisers call for HMRC reform after
huge data loss

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