[Re: HMRC inertia to claw back stolen furlough money to leave taxpayers with £4bn bill, Feb11]
The report that taxpayers will be forced to shoulder a £4bn burden as a result of HMRC failing to collect the money is frankly preposterous.
Every time this is brought up Rishi Sunak claims it was as a result of having to act quickly and take “unprecedented” action. But HMRC is a practiced operator in dealing with fraud and chasing down tax. It cannot be dramatically different.
This idea that somehow we have to choose between efficiency and fraud is a false choice. If we can’t do both, frankly, what has HMRC been doing all this time? If they are not equipped to deal with new types of tax regimes, then they need a much more severe overhaul. The furlough scheme was different, but I don’t think it’s fair we should be forced to pay the under-investment in the bean counters at HMRC.
The Chancellor needs to spend some time soul searching if he thinks it’s good enough to wipe his hands of it, push it back onto us and blame the pandemic, once more. He should think up ways to get HMRC to find our money before he hatches any more schemes to give us more debt with the energy crisis loan.