Edward Troup, who served as HMRC’s executive chair and permanent secretary, received a knighthood in the 2018 New Year honours list.
A tax lawyer, Troup advised Gordon Brown on corporate tax policy before joining HMRC as tax assurance commissioner in 2012.
Critics including Margaret Hodge MP, then chair of the influential Public Accounts Committee, characterised Troup as a “poacher turned gamekeeper” and flagged up his resistence to Gordon Brown’s general anti-avoidance/abuse rule (GAAR) proposals when working for Simmons & Simmons and his soundbite comment that tax was equivalent to legalised extortion.
That did not prevent him taking the HMRC role, which saw him rise to executive chair in February 2016. In the words of Chancellor George Osborne, Troup’s “wealth of experience in tax” would be very useful to the department. In tandem with HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson, he has been at the helm through one of the most turbulent periods at HMRC with the planned introduction of Making Tax Digital during a period of massive organisational change.
In the department’s 2016 accounts, Troup and Thompson boasted of “our ability to deliver six consecutive years of increased tax revenues” and the £2.1bn wrested from the Chancellor to invest in infrastructure and additional compliance activities.
With MTD as the justification, much of the extra investment is going into technology while HMRC continues to cut back on staff. By 2021, it expects to employ 16% fewer people in 13 regional centres in place of the existing network of more than 100 local offices. In spite of the pair’s financial successes, HMRC’s accounts have continued to be qualified due to the unmeasurable levels of tax credit fraud and errors.
Otherwise, the trendy, community-friendly New Year honours list appears to be even thinner than usual for the accountancy profession – unless you happen to be a public sector accountant or involved with technology.
Retired chartered accountant Peter Stebbings received an OBE, but for his voluntary political service as regional chairman of the Conservative Party rather than his accounting activities.
Two Whitehall finance directors, Timothy Rossington (lately of the DCMS) and Howard Orme (Department for Education) were made Companions of the Order of Bath – an honour exclusively for public servants.
Paul Baumann, chief financial officer of NHS England, received a CBE for services to NHS financial management. This sounds like a coup for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa), but none of the recipients appear in its online directory.
Apart from Troup, the usual crop of OBEs and MBEs were spread around eight other HMRC officials.
The honours list took on a bit of a Fintech twist with an OBE for Worldpay vice chairman Rohinton (Ron) Kalifa for services to financial services and technology.
Jacqueline De Rojas, president of the trade association techUK, was made a CBE for her services to trade in the technology industry. De Rojas is a well known campaigner for women in IT and workforce diversity and has a minor connection with accountancy, having worked as Northern European VP for Sage during the seven months up to March 2017.
ICAEW members honoured (update)
After further checking, the ICAEW identified the following members who gained honours in the New Year list:
- Allan Reid (OBE) - for services to the community in Winchester, Hampshire.
- Emma Louise Smith (MBE) - head of operations, National Crime Agency.
- For services to tackling economic crime.
- Janet Woodroffe (MBE) - for voluntary and charitable services in Wistanstow, South Shropshire.
- Adrian Jacobs (BEM) - volunteer, police liaison, Metropolitan Police Service. For services to interfaith relations and the community in the London Borough of Barnet.
- Elizabeth Lucy Dymond (CBE) - director, The Charity for Civil Servants. For public service.
- Nigel John Mills (CBE) - co-founder and chairman, The Lakes Distillery.
- For services to entrepreneurship in the North East and Cumbria.
- Robert Swannell (CBE) - non-executive chairman, UK Government Investment. For services to the public, retail and financial sectors.
- Paul Taiano (OBE) - chair of governors,Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. For services to drama training and horse racing welfare.
- Martin James Paul Cooke (OBE) - for services to the arts and the community in Chester, Tattenhall and North Cornwall.
AccountingWEB awaits further news from other professional bodies about members who may have been honoured this year. In the absence of any other news, members have been expressing their views on the honours list in Any Answers. Do comment below if you are aware of any accountants among the 125-page honours list.