TREASURY – HMRC – 2 July 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: I have been listening to this debate with great interest and I must say that Mr and Mrs Nelson have inherited the fighting spirit of the great admiral who shared their surname. I have a similar case in which HMRC is pursuing a medium-sized firm for about £1 million in notional lost tax for goods that were bound for export but were stolen. The firm was an innocent party and the tax is notional, but HMRC is threatening the livelihoods of 40 employees and will not let the matter go. When the Minister says that such cases are always unfortunate and that we should put up our hands and say sorry, will he take a sympathetic view and have a word with the organisation to say that sometimes it is better to prevent the wrong from taking place in the first place, rather than having to apologise for it afterwards?

[The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s intervention. It is not possible for me to comment on individual cases, although I know that he has taken a close interest in that matter for some time. Perhaps we can have a quiet word about it afterwards. It is not possible for me, as a Minister, to intervene in operational matters, but it is right that HMRC has the correct procedures in place. ... ]