Margaret Hodge calls for new parliamentary committee to end HMRC's tax "secrecy"

Written by Suzannah Brecknell on 16 September 2016 in News

Former chair of the Public Accounts Committee wants to “tear away the shroud of secrecy” around corporate tax settlements, calling for scrutiny along similar lines to the Intelligence and Security Committee

Negotiations between HMRC and corporations should be scrutinised by MPs through a powerful new parliamentary committee, according to former Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge.

Hodge is known for her vocal criticism of tax settlements that see large companies pay less tax than their profits suggest they should pay. 

During her time leading the PAC, the committee attempted to understand how these settlements had been agreed, but HMRC regularly said it could not disclose details as this would be in breach of taxpayers' confidentiality.

Margaret Hodge blasts ex-Treasury boss Sir Nick Macpherson over new bank job
Margaret Hodge not standing again as PAC chair
Quizzing the inquisitor: the Margaret Hodge interview

In a new book published this week, Hodge writes: “The greatest challenge to restoring confidence in the British tax system stems from the secrecy that surrounds it.

“The confidentiality of taxpayers' interests is destroying confidence in the integrity of the system.”

She argues that as a first step to restoring confidence, “select committees should have access to papers on a confidential basis”. She argues for the creation of a “select committee of both Houses of Parliament which meets in confidence and holds HMRC to account”.

MPs would examine details of negotiations with companies “to assure parliament and the public that companies are paying their tax in full”.

Hodge would eventually like to go further still, arguing that since the amount of tax that public corporations pay is publicly available, “why can't we be privy to the arguments or negotiations that take place between the company and the tax authorities?”

She says the UK "should tear away the shroud of secrecy” around corporate tax bills with the negotiations for FTSE 100 companies made public.

Author Display Name
Suzannah Brecknell
About the author

Suzannah Brecknell is CSW's senior reporter. She tweets as @SuzannahCSW

Share this page
Editor's Pick
Promote as primary content
Not Promoted

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs


Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Related Sponsored Articles