Final effort to rein in HMRC powers

A last ditch attempt to kill widely criticised new powers for HM Revenue
& Customs will be mounted by the Tories next week as the finance bill heads
for its final stages.

The promise came from shadow chief secretary Philip Hammond during
parliamentary debates on the powers which include the right to ‘raid’ businesses
and visit the offices of advisers during a tax investigation.

There are fears the powers could be used for fishing expeditions and efforts
from financial secretary Jane Kennedy to reassure objectors have so far failed.
She offered seven days’ notice of any raid as a concession.

Hammond described the concession as ‘tiny’ and reiterated disappointment that
‘widespread concerns’ had not been heeded.

He went on to promise an 11th hour bid to force further amendments to the
The final stages are due on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Liberal Democrats have made plain their concern that civil liberties are at
Colin Breed, Lib Dem shadow chief secretary, added that despite government
assurances, ‘if they are on the statute book and open to interpretation, you
will always get those who are going to push the boundaries and some of these
powers are unnecessary’.

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