Revenue chief clashes with MP.

The head of the Inland Revenue, Nick Montagu, has clashed with senior MP Michael Spicer after he suggested that blockages holding back closer working with Customs & Excise were in the top civil servant’s department.

Montagu, appearing before the Treasury select committee last week, which is chaired by Spicer, said he had to ‘take issue’ with any suggestion that there was a blockage at the Revenue stopping closer co-operating with Customs.

‘There’s no blockage and there’s no blocking. I am as committed as anybody to closer working with Customs where it makes sense and adds value.’

The select committee also questioned Montagu on the possibility of merging Revenue and Customs.

The two tax collectors have collaborated to produce a closer working action plan, with 120 projects underway, but merger remains on the agenda with the Treasury committee.

During questioning Montagu said he could not comment on a merger because it was an issue for ministers not officials.

He said: ‘We can’t invariably give closer working with Customs absolute top priority. It is a higher priority to get tax credits up and running.’

Earlier, during the session, Richard Broadbent, the head of Customs said merger would only work if it improved services.

Related reading