HMRC managers summoned by MPs - Live highlights
HMRC’s senior executives appeared before the House of Commons Treasury select committee this morning to discuss the PAYE system.
Chief executive Dame Dame Lesley Strathie, permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett and Bernadette Kenny, director general for personal tax, faced a committee hearing at Portcullis House, Westminster, at 10.30am.
The three HMRC chiefs were hauled over the coals by MPs after 10 days of controversy that culminated in Hartnett’s apology for this year’s PAYE underpayment claims.
The statement followed Hartnett’s appearance on Saturday’s BBC Radio 4 Moneybox programme in which he said he “saw no need to apologise” to the 1.4m people who are being asked to pay additional amounts of tax to offset inaccurate tax codes.
Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie described the apology as “a bit belated” and consulted colleagues on Monday about calling Hartnett before the select committee.
“There is a strong case for saying he should now give an explanation to Parliament,” he told BBC Radio 4's World at One on Monday.
As AccountingWEB.co.uk has noted over the past week, detailed explanations of how the PAYE processing backlog has ballooned during the past three years have been overwhelmed by much more superficial, but damaging media allegations that have escalated an administrative crisis into a major poltical row.
With the lay press baying for blood, Hartnett in particular was fighting for his job when he explained himself to the assembled MPs and Parliament TV audience.
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Live highlights from Portcullis House
11.05am - After some initial problems with the audio feed, we joined the Treasury committee hearing about half an hour in, as MPs were grilling HMRC chief executive Leslie Strathie on the size of the PAYE underpayment backlog, and the potential costs of a new concession Treasury ministers requested not to charge interest on outstanding underpayments of more than £2,000.