Select Committee on Treasury First Report



31. The Treasury Committee decided to establish a Sub-committee on 14 May 1998 to scrutinise bodies for which Treasury ministers are responsible.[32] The Sub-committee consists of the same Members as the main Committee but has met under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Lloyd and Sir Michael Spicer. Details of the attendance of Members of the Sub-committee, and staff of the Sub-committee, since its formation are given in annexes 2 and 3.

32. The Sub-committee has conducted inquiries into the Office for National Statistics, the Inland Revenue, the Valuation Office Agency, HM Customs and Excise, the Government's cash and debt management (encompassing the Debt Management Office, the National Investment and Loans Office and National Savings) and HM Treasury. Details of each inquiry can be found in separate sections below. The Sub-committee has also elicited information about some recent changes to departmental expenditure limits of the bodies for which Treasury Ministers are responsible, which is printed with this Report.[33]


33. The Sub-committee's work is unusual in two respects. Firstly, a primary focus of inquiries has been the administration of departments, something not always considered by Select Committees, and we have made a number of important recommendations relating to this matter, including one in favour of the merger of HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue. Secondly, several of the bodies which fall within the Sub-committee's remit were strangers to parliamentary scrutiny. Before 2000, for example, the Public Works Loan Board had not given oral evidence to a Committee of the House since 1875.

34. These factors have not prevented the Sub-committee from establishing generally good relationships with the departments it has scrutinised. No problems have been encountered in requesting oral evidence from the Government, including from Ministers, and memoranda, almost invariably of high quality, have usually been delivered on time. In particular, HM Customs and Excise and the bodies responsible for the Government's cash and debt management responded positively to our many requests for supplementary memoranda on detailed matters during the course of protracted inquiries. The Treasury's Parliamentary Clerk, Mr David Martin, deserves praise for facilitating our work.

35. In some respects, however, the Sub-committee has experienced difficulties with the bodies it scrutinises. The most serious problem was encountered during our inquiry into HM Customs and Excise and concerned the department's refusals to supply us with two key documents—an internal report on the possibility of merging the revenue departments and the report by Mr Martin Taylor on measures to combat tobacco smuggling.[34] In the former case, we remain mystified as to why the Government felt forced to employ a range of spurious and conflicting excuses to explain its reluctance to hand over to parliamentary scrutiny an old report on a routine matter concerning departmental administration. With regard to the Taylor report, we deplore the manner in which the Government has published those snippets of Mr Taylor's advice which support the new strategy for dealing with tobacco smuggling when it has refused to publish, in any form, his advice in full.

36. A further difficulty arose during the inquiry into the Government's cash and debt management when our requests to have sight of the non-confidential responses to consultation documents on the secondary market for gilts and the future role of National Savings were refused. We discovered that the Debt Management Office had not made provision for such responses ever to be made public and secured a pledge that "the Treasury will make clear in future consultation documents that responses may be made public unless confidentiality is requested".[35] We are disappointed that the Treasury rejected our argument that non-confidential responses to consultation documents should be made available to Committees when requested. Pre-legislative scrutiny inquiries often depend upon such documents being made available to the House and there are several examples of Committees contributing to consultation exercises by undertaking their own analysis of responses, supplementing oral and written evidence taken in the normal way. The Liaison Committee might usefully examine the circumstances in which Select Committees should have access to responses to consultation documents received by Government departments.

Work of the Sub-committee 1998-2000


37. The Sub-committee's first inquiry was into the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and focused on the issues raised in the green paper "Statistics: A Matter of Trust", which was published in February 1998. The Sub-committee took evidence from July to November 1998 and visited the ONS in July 1998. A Report was published in December 1998.[36] This made several recommendations relating to the Government's proposals for a new regime for national statistics and also drew conclusions relating to the performance of the ONS and recent problems with the Average Earnings Index. The Government's Reply was promptly received but the responses to several recommendations were delayed until the publication of the Government's follow-up to its green paper.[37] The Report was debated on the floor of the House in October 1999, shortly after the publication of the Government White Paper "Building Trust in Statistics". At that stage, a framework document explaining in detail how the proposed Statistics Commission, National Statistician, and Minister for National Statistics would interact was expected to be published by the end of the year and the Sub-committee arranged to hear oral evidence from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on 1 March 2000. That session went ahead although the framework document was not published until June.[38] The Sub-committee heard oral evidence from the Statistics Commission, the National Statistician and the Economic Secretary on 16 November and a Report will be published in the new year.


38. The Sub-committee's inquiry into the Inland Revenue took place in spring 1999 and was preceded by a visit to the revenue Adjudicator. Our Report was published in May 1999 and the Government's Reply was received in July 1999.[39] We dealt mostly with compliance issues, including the compliance costs faced by firms, the complexity of the tax system, and the system of self assessment for income tax. Many of our recommendations were accepted.

39. In preparation for this annual Report we requested written evidence from the Inland Revenue and previous witnesses, and took evidence from Mr Nicholas Montagu CB, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Miss Ann Chant CB, Deputy Chairman of the Board, and Mr John Yard CBE, Director, Business and Management Services, Inland Revenue, on 1 November 2000.[40] We are grateful to all those who gave us evidence, both written and oral. We reviewed progress on several of the issues discussed in our Report and also took the opportunity to scrutinise recent developments in other areas, such as the department's plans to restructure its network of regional offices.[41] Our principal comments are made below.

Changing Role of Inland Revenue

40. The Inland Revenue has changed dramatically since our Report was published and is continuing to evolve. Mr Montagu told us that his department was "moving into the field that has hitherto been that of the social security and employment departments" in assuming responsibility for tax credits and the enforcement of the national minimum wage and merging with the Contributions Agency. The Inland Revenue was, in his opinion, fast becoming "an enabling as well as a regulating department".[42] Miss Chant emphasised that "taking on tax credits was an enormous enterprise" and that "we are dealing now with a very different client base than the Revenue would normally have had to deal with" in the past.[43] Mr Montagu denied that, as the Inland Revenue took on new tasks, old areas of responsibility might be neglected,[44] but there is evidence to suggest that the department might be changing too rapidly. The Tax Faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales told us that it had "received some reports from our members which suggest that there has been a fall-off in service in National Insurance [NIC] matters" and suggested that "NIC work may be considered to be the poor relation in the merged operation".[45] Mr Montagu admitted that a computer upgrade across the Inland Revenue might not reach the National Insurance Contributions Office for two years and we pointed out that there was no link from the front page of the Inland Revenue's internet website to information about national insurance.[46]

Self Assessment

41. We discussed with the Inland Revenue three problems which have affected income tax self assessment since the publication of our Report:

  • the length of the Tax Calculation Guide, 29 pages for 1999-2000.[47] Mr Montagu explained that it had been lengthened in order to make it less complex, and looked to the electronic submission of tax returns, and the software which it involves, as a means of making the Guide easier to use in future[48]
  • the proportion of self assessment returns filed late, which appears to be rising.[49] Mr Montagu thought that it was "quite difficult to know whether the actual proportion of late filers is increasing", because the trend might be due to the cumulative effects of difficult cases from previous years[50]
  • problems affecting the launch of internet filing of self assessment returns. Mr Yard gave us a full report on the various teething problems which have affected the service and the prospects for future expansion[51]

The Confederation of British Industry also raised with us issues relating to the self assessment for corporation tax, of which the Inland Revenue were unaware.[52]

42. Some of the problems with income tax self assessment are rooted in the complexity of the tax system and cannot be tackled by redesigning forms or explanatory material. Although the use of the internet might help to simplify the self assessment process, it should not be regarded as a panacea nor as a substitute for simplification of the tax system. Although tax complexity may help explain the problem of late filing, other factors are also important and the Inland Revenue could show more urgency in dealing with this issue. In the Government's Reply to our Report we were told that "the Revenue are already analysing reasons taxpayers gave for filing late, and will be monitoring successive years' data to be alert to changes in behaviour".[53] In oral evidence more recently, however, the department told us that it was just "beginning to analyse ... why it is there are numbers of returns that are not coming in every year".[54] We recommend that the Inland Revenue analyse more rigorously the extent of and reasons for late filing of income tax self assessment returns, and take steps to reduce the problem.

Information Technology

43. The Tax Faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said in its written memorandum that "fundamental problems resulting from incompatible and ageing [Inland Revenue] computer systems and systems that were not adequately tested or consulted on are having to be patched up on a make-and-mend basis. We suspect that a fundamental overhaul of the computer system is required".[55] The Inland Revenue told us that problems with its IT systems "need to be seen in the context of the large programme of work successfully delivered in the last twelve months".[56] One problem we discussed during the oral evidence with Inland Revenue officials seemed symptomatic of the problems caused by ageing and incompatible computer systems. The Inland Revenue has stopped working on over one million tax records for 1997-98 in which insufficient information is available to calculate whether too much or too little income tax has been paid by individuals as a result of problems affecting the interaction between the Pay-As-You-Earn and National Insurance computers. A further tranche of records may need to be similarly closed for 1998-99.[57] It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Inland Revenue's computer systems are struggling to cope with the demands placed on them and that taxpayers are being affected as a result.


44. Mr Montagu told us that he had asked for the provision of policy advice by his department to be the subject of a peer review, carried out by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health. He said that "the quality of advice which goes to Ministers is high and I think we have got the right capacity but I do not think we would say we have got it totally right yet. Some advice is perhaps over technically based and does not place the advice sufficiently in the context either of the Government's wider social objectives or, indeed, link it up to other aspects of taxation".[58] We welcome Mr Montagu's frankness in discussing this matter with us, but we are surprised, given what he said, that the development of joint policy making with HM Customs and Excise has been sidelined following the re-focusing of the Closer Working programme.[59] We believe that joint policy making by the revenue departments could help reduce the compliance costs on businesses arising from changes to the taxation system and contribute to measures to make the taxation system less complex. We recommend that the revenue departments publish details of the work undertaken so far by the Policy Steering Group mentioned in the 1999 Closer Working action plan, and the Group's future work programme.


45. The Valuation Office Agency, which values property for local authority charges and central Government taxation and provides valuation services to Government departments, was the subject of an inquiry from April to July 1999. Our Report was published in October 1999 and the Government Reply was received in January 2000.[60] We also received a reply from the National Association of Valuation Tribunals, which is published with this Report.[61]

46. We requested an update from the Valuation Office Agency on the action taken in response to the recommendations in our Report, which we have published with this Report.[62] One issue on which we were updated was the progress made by the Agency in clearing the backlog of appeals against the 1995 and earlier rating lists. We recommended last year that the Agency should "clear all appeals made against the original 1995 rating lists (as distinct from maintenance cases) or any prior list before the new 2000 rating list is introduced in order to improve the quality of the new list".[63] The Government responded by arguing that it would "give priority during 2000-01 to the clearance of 1995 or earlier list appeals outstanding as at 31 March 2000", a rather more limited ambition.[64] We note that the VOA thought it could successfully clear appeals at the same time as the 2000 list was finalised,[65] but in the event the target set for clearing appeals from the 1995 list during 1999-2000 was missed.[66]


47. We heard oral evidence on HM Customs and Excise in the autumn of 1999, after visiting the department in Dover and London in July 1999, Canada to investigate the merger of the revenue departments there in October 1999, and the revenue Adjudicator in November 1999. Our Report was published in February 2000 and the Government's Reply was received in April 2000.[67] We made several detailed criticisms of the programme of Closer Working between HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue and recommended that the two departments should be merged. We also examined the Government's responses to alcohol and tobacco smuggling and made several recommendations, including that a significant investment in extra Customs and Excise staff was required to reduce tobacco smuggling. Our final area of investigation related to compliance issues and several of our recommendations were accepted or welcomed.

48. In preparation for this annual Report we requested written memoranda from HM Customs and Excise and previous witnesses, and took oral evidence from Mr Richard Broadbent, appointed Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of HM Customs and Excise since our inquiry was completed, and Mr Mike Norgrove, Director, Delivery Directorate, HM Customs and Excise, on 1 November 2000.[68] We are grateful to all those who gave us evidence, both written and oral. We reviewed progress on several of the issues discussed in our Report and also took the opportunity to scrutinise recent developments in other areas, such as the role of HM Customs and Excise as a prosecuting authority on which we await the outcome of His Honour John Gower's review.[69] Our principal comments are made below.


49. Since his appointment, Mr Broadbent has shaken up the management of HM Customs and Excise, reducing the size of the management board, redefining managerial responsibilities, and bringing new blood into the department's upper echelons. In explaining his desire to drive forward strategic change, Mr Broadbent painted an unflattering picture of the way in which the department was managed in the past. While emphasising that HM Customs and Excise "is a leader, an international leader" he described it as "under managed", "under invested in certain ways, the most important of which was IT", "slow to react, to learn", and suffering from "a degree of fragmentation", "a lack of clear strategic direction", and "communication difficulties".[70] Mr Broadbent is now seeking to "get to quite far reaching decisions quite quickly" by rationalising and clarifying management structures and processes. We welcome the new approach taken by Mr Richard Broadbent to the management of HM Customs and Excise and look forward to reviewing the progress he has made.

Spending Review

50. The impacts of the Spending Review 2000 on HM Customs and Excise were sharply different to those of the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review, in two ways:

51. Mr Broadbent explained that the "two biggest components in the case we put to Ministers for increased resources were fraud, tobacco fraud, which was something a bit less than half of the total increase, and IT".[71] The total additional resources found for tackling tobacco smuggling over four years is £294 million and £155 million has been allocated to upgrading the department's IT systems.[72] We welcome the allocation of extra resources to HM Customs and Excise to tackle tobacco smuggling and improve the department's IT systems, both priority areas which we identified in our earlier Report.[73]

52. The reduction in the number of HM Customs and Excise's objectives and targets was welcomed by Mr Broadbent, who argued that "at a strategic level, if an organisation is trying to do more than really a handful of things ... it is going to fall over itself". He described the new targets as "tough enough to fail".[74] We are concerned that the problem of too many targets, of uncertain rationale and status, has not yet been fully dealt with. The department remains committed to meeting its existing PSA objectives and targets, some of which run until 2002, and the recently published Service Delivery Agreements includes dozens of commitments and targets, some far reaching and some detailed. This is a pan-Governmental issue which we have raised in the context of our inquiry into HM Treasury.

Merger and Closer Working

53. We detected a change of tone in the attitude of Mr Broadbent to the question of merging the revenue departments, when compared to the answers given in the past by his predecessor. Whereas Dame Valerie Strachan and her colleagues gave the impression of being hostile to the suggestion of merger, Mr Broadbent said he "came to this job and I remain now without a preconceived view about merging the two organisations".[75] He went on to develop a coherent analysis of the merger issue, stating that "you normally merge an organisation ... because you either think the management of one other is incompetent and you can solve the management problem that way, or you think there are huge cost savings to be found because of economies of scale, or you see a service enhancement".[76] Whereas service improvements could result from merger, he did "not ... see massive cost savings from merging the two organisations".[77] The case against merging the revenue departments continues to rest on untested assumptions about the cost and benefits involved: we remain convinced of the need for a full investigation by the Government into this matter.

54. In our HM Customs and Excise Report we charted the six-year history of the programme of Closer Working between the revenue authorities and expressed doubt about whether it could achieve the objectives and deliver the benefits achieved for it. We were particularly concerned that little thought had been given to the evaluation of the programme and that we received no clear indication of what its future might be.[78] On the day that our Report was published, the Closer Working programme was relaunched by means of a press notice, as if new.[79] In October 2000 we received a memorandum from the revenue departments which suggested that Closer Working had received yet another make-over. We were told that "much of the programme has still to deliver quantifiable benefits" and that "there is a need to re-focus the programme".[80] The Closer Working programme is, in future, to focus on just two areas—compliance and customer service. Large areas of the 1999 Closer Working programme, described as recently as February as "an ambitious plan [which] covers a wide range of taxpayer services", have been sidelined.[81] Mr Broadbent said that the new programme had involved identifying "four or five areas where you can actually make some material difference" and that the new "strategic goal of Closer Working should effectively be the harmonisation of business taxes wherever possible".[82]

55. Our concerns at the slow pace of the development of Closer Working, the absence of evaluation mechanisms, and whether or not taxpayers will ever benefit from the programme, remain as apposite as ever. We are also concerned that the rationale of the programme seems to have changed. The Paymaster General told us last year that "delivery of service to the customer" was the underlying philosophy of Closer Working, but the main emphasis of the programme is now on tackling non-compliance.[83] Although Mr Broadbent seems to have a clearer idea of where Closer Working is leading than his predecessors, he himself admitted that, even after six years since Closer Working commenced, it "was still work in progress" and "we need to create a clearer framework within which the programme can be evaluated".[84] The time for the programme of Closer Working between the revenue departments to deliver clear, quantifiable benefits is long overdue. We recommend that, from next year, the departments publish an annual report on the activities covered by the Closer Working programme, an evaluation of progress made, and an indication of future work.

Alcohol and Tobacco Smuggling

56. On 30 June 2000 the Paymaster General announced that there would be a wide-ranging investigation into HM Customs and Excise's excise duty collection regime, after an internal inquiry had found "significant revenue losses" during the 1994-98 period particularly relating to releases of dutiable spirits and wine from bonded warehouses.[85] The inquiry, conducted by Mr John Rocques, a former senior partner of Deloitte Touche, was planned to report by the end of November.[86] The Sub-committee intends to hear oral evidence from the Paymaster General in the new year, including to inquire into this issue.

57. The Government's new strategy for dealing with tobacco smuggling, based on new resources for front-line staff, new technology, increased intelligence work, enhanced cooperation with the police and security services, and a PSA target to reverse the growth in the penetration of smuggled tobacco in the UK market, is broadly in tune with the recommendations made in our Report. Following the work of the Health Committee,[87] we asked Mr Broadbent about his view of the tobacco industry's role in relation to tobacco smuggling. He said that he had "no evidence that tobacco manufacturers are unlawfully or knowingly engaged in smuggling" and that the tobacco firms had "a very strong common interest with us" to tackle smuggling, although he also asserted that "you should assume that we are following up the tobacco manufacturers fairly vigorously".[88] Action on Smoking and Health claimed that UK tobacco firms were "facilitating UK tobacco smuggling by exporting to countries in which there is little or no market for their products--except smugglers, whose intention is to smuggle them back into Britain" and that HM Customs and Excise was failing to address this underlying problem.[89] The legitimate export of large quantities of UK-manufactured tobacco to small countries in which UK tobacco has not previously been widely consumed raises a number of important questions about the ways in which tobacco smugglers are supplied with their product. This issue deserves the Government's attention, particularly in the light of the Department of Trade and Industry's investigation of the allegations that British American Tobacco plc has been implicated in smuggling.[90] We recommend that the Intelligence and Security Committee should examine the adequacy of co-operation between the security services and HM Customs and Excise.

New Export System

58. We have recently received several memoranda from express courier firms about the introduction by HM Customs and Excise of new export procedures, a matter we raised with Mr Broadbent. At the moment, the "just in time" export of goods from the UK is facilitated by customs procedures which allow courier firms to state what they have exported after shipment, with only a short, paper document required to be produced before shipment. The proposed new system would require all pre- and post-shipment declarations to be made electronically, which the courier firms claimed would place a significant cost burden on them and would undermine their international competitiveness.[91] Mr Broadbent explained that reform was necessary because "if we do not do something the weight of paper going through our system will probably significantly reduce the service we can provide for exporters and probably ultimately threaten collapse". He defended the consultations undertaken by his department on this issue and outlined some recent revisions to the proposals to accommodate the couriers' concerns.[92] We have sought more information from the courier firms about these revised proposals and intend to continue our scrutiny of this matter.[93]


59. Responsibility for the management of the Government's cash and debt is shared by a number of bodies, including the Debt Management Office (DMO), National Savings, and the National Investment and Loans Office (which incorporates the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), the Office of HM Paymaster General, and the National Debt Office). The Sub-committee decided to scrutinise these bodies simultaneously in the context of an inquiry into cash and debt management, which was in the process of being reformed as a result of the creation of the Debt Management Office in 1998. The Sub-committee heard oral evidence from January to April 2000, was briefed by officials of the DMO in June 1999, and visited the London Money Markets Association and the Gilt-Edged Market Makers Association in January 2000. A Report was published in May 2000 and the Government's Reply was received in July 2000.[94]

60. Our Report was wide ranging and included conclusions and recommendations about current conditions in the gilt market, measuring the performance of the DMO, the new arrangements for cash management, and the future roles of National Savings and the PWLB. The Government's Reply dealt fully with the recommendations relating to the DMO, but its response in relation to the PWLB was less satisfactory. Our detailed analysis of the background to the decision by the Treasury to recommend that loans to local authorities of over 25 years duration by the PWLB should be ended was dismissed in two sentences as "somewhat misleading" and our recommendation that the governance structure of the PWLB Commissioners was in need of updating was ignored.[95] Finally, we questioned the rationale for National Savings and commented that "it is difficult to see what distinctive contribution National Savings makes to the promotion of government savings policy".[96] The Government reply, and the parliamentary Written Answer on which it was based,[97] have rather coyly acknowledged the force of this argument by dropping National Savings' objective to promote Government savings policy.

61. The Sub-committee did not seek a written memorandum from the agencies responsible for cash and debt management for publication with this Report, but it will continue to monitor this area and call for evidence when required.


62. By far the most unusual and potentially controversial of the Sub-committee's inquiries has been into HM Treasury. The Sub-committee devised deliberately wide terms of reference and has sought to explore the sources and nature of the Treasury's power and influence; the relationship between the Treasury and the rest of Whitehall; and international comparisons of the ways in which finance and economics ministries operate. Our inquiry began with a visit to HM Treasury in April 2000 and has also included visits to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Finance, and Industry in Paris, the Ministry of Finance in Berlin, and various economic and finance institutions in the US.[98] Oral evidence has been heard from Treasury officials, past and present, former Treasury Ministers, and a wide range of domestic and international experts on economic and finance ministries. The Sub-committee's last oral evidence session on HM Treasury is due to take place on 14 December 2000 and a Report will be published in the New Year.


63. One of the most important aspects of the Sub-committee's work has been to expose to parliamentary scrutiny a number of obscure Whitehall departments which have rarely, if ever, needed to explain or justify their activities to the House and the world at large. In general, the bodies we have scrutinised are working hard to tackle complex administrative and political problems, often against a background of rapid change in their roles, responsibilities and methods. Where we have made criticisms or suggested reforms the Government has usually responded with respect, treating our comments seriously if not always agreeing with them. Our on-going scrutiny of the new arrangements for national statistics have played a significant role in their development; we have repeatedly prompted the Government to clarify the purposes and expected outcomes of the programme of Closer Working between the revenue authorities, contributing to changes in the programme; our recommendations on tackling tobacco smuggling were largely taken up by the Government at the time of the March 2000 Budget; and numerous recommendations to improve the accountability of the departments to Parliament have been accepted. We consider it important that, in the new Parliament, the Treasury Committee re-establishes its Sub-committee in order to ensure that the Chancellor's departments, and the policies for which they are responsible, continue to be scrutinised.

Future Work of the Sub-committee

64. There are four bodies for which Treasury Ministers are responsible which the Sub-committee has not yet scrutinised: the Royal Mint, the Government Actuary's Department, the Registry of Friendly Societies and the Office of Government Commerce. We have announced inquiries into the first two of these bodies, which will take place in the new year. We decided in May 1999 not to inquire into the work of the Registry of Friendly Societies because of the intention to merge it with the Financial Services Authority.[99] The Office of Government Commerce was created on 1 April 2000 and we have no plans as yet to examine its work.

32  Treasury Committee, Minutes of Proceedings, 1997-98, HC 1182, p xxi. Back

33  Appendices 2 and 3, p 9-11. Back

34  Second Report, 1999-2000, HM Customs and Excise, HC 53, paragraphs 20-22, 64. Back

35  Sixth Special Report, 1999-2000, Government's Cash and Debt Management: The Government's Response to the Committee's Sixth Report of Session 1999-2000, HC 869, p xii. Back

36  First Report, 1998-99, Office for National Statistics, HC 43-I. Back

37  Second Special Report, 1998-99, Office for National Statistics: Responses by the Government and the Bank of England to the First Report of the Committee in Session 1998-99, HC 267. Back

38  Minutes of Evidence, 1999-2000, Office for National Statistics: Progress Report, HC 293. Back

39  Sixth Report, 1998-99, Inland Revenue, HC 199 (hereafter IR Report), and Sixth Special Report, 1998-99, Inland Revenue: The Government's Response to the Sixth Report of the Committee in Session 1998-99, HC 746 (hereafter IR Reply). Back

40  Minutes of Evidence, HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue: Progress Reports, HC 953 (hereafter HMCE and IR Progress). Back

41  Ibid, Q 123-5. Back

42  Ibid, Q 70; Ev, p 30. Back

43  Ibid, Q 88. Back

44  Ibid, Q 71. Back

45  Ibid, Ev, p 89, para 22. Back

46  Ibid, Q 83, 86; this has now been changed. Back

47  Ibid, Ev, p 101, paras 4-11. Back

48  Ibid, Q 96. Back

49  IR Report, Table 3, p xxi, and HMCE and IR Progress, Ev, p 36. Back

50  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 99. Back

51  Ibid, Q 102-7. Back

52  Ibid, Q 97-8. Back

53  IR Reply, p ix. Back

54  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 99. Back

55  Ibid, Ev, p 90-1, para 34. Back

56  Ibid, Ev, p 39. Back

57  Ibid, Q 128-66. Back

58  Ibid, Q 93. Back

59  See paragraph 53. Back

60  Tenth Report, 1998-99, Valuation Office Agency, HC 420 (hereafter VOA Report), and First Special Report, 1999-2000, Valuation Office Agency: The Government's Response to the Committee's Tenth Report of Session 1998-99, HC 197 (hereafter VOA Reply). Back

61  Appendix 4, p 12. Back

62  Appendix 1, p 5. Back

63  VOA Report, paragraph 46. Back

64  VOA Reply, p v. Back

65  VOA Report, Q 198. Back

66  Valuation Office Agency Annual Report and Accounts 1999-2000, HC (1999-2000) 646. Back

67  Second Report, 1999-2000, HM Customs and Excise, HC 53 (hereafter HMCE Report), and Second Special Report, 1999-2000, HM Customs and Excise: The Government's Response to the Committee's Second Report of Session 1999-2000, HC 442. Back

68  HMCE and IR ProgressBack

69  Ibid, Q 43-53. Back

70  Ibid, Q 4-5. Back

71  Ibid, Q 8. Back

72  Ibid, Q 8, 29-31. Back

73  HMCE Report, paragraphs 8, 30, 87. Back

74  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 11-12. Back

75  Ibid, Q 25. Back

76  Ibid, Q 60. Back

77  Ibid. Back

78  HMCE Report, paragraphs 23-34. Back

79  "HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue Working Together for a Better Public Service", HM Customs and Excise, 15 Feb 00. Back

80  HMCE and IR Progress, p 17, paras 1.3-1.4. Back

81   "HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue Working Together for a Better Public Service", HM Customs and Excise, 15 Feb 00. Back

82  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 15. Back

83  HMCE Report, paragraph 26. Back

84  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 19, 21. Back

85  "Paymaster General Announces Independent Investigation into Excise Control Regimes", HM Customs and Excise, PR26/2000, 30 Jun 00. Back

86   "Independent Investigation Head Appointed to Check Excise Control Regimes", HM Customs and Excise, PR28/2000, 7 Jul 00. Back

87  Health Committee, Second Report, 1999-2000, The Tobacco Industry and the Health Risks of Smoking, HC 27. Back

88  HMCE and IR Progress, Q 37-8. Back

89  Ibid, p 73. Back

90   "Byers Announces Investigation into British American Tobacco plc", DTI, P/2000/713, 30 Oct 00. Back

91  HMCE and IR Progress, p 61-7. Back

92  Ibid, Q 54-8. Back

93  Ibid, p 109-113. Back

94  Sixth Report, 1999-2000, Government's Cash and Debt Management, HC 154 (hereafter Cash and Debt), and Sixth Special Report, 1999-2000, Government's Cash and Debt Management: The Government's Response to the Committee's Sixth Report of Session 1999-2000, HC 869. Back

95  We have printed as Appendix 5 to this Report, p 13, a response from Mr Anthony Loehnis, CMG, Chairman of the Public Works Loan Board Commissioners. Back

96  Cash and Debt, paragraph 77. Back

97  Official Report, 24 Jul 00, c490W. Back

98  The visits to Germany and the US were part of Treasury Committee visits to those countries. Back

99  Treasury Committee, Minutes of Proceedings, 1998-99, HC 921, p xxv; The Government's Expenditure Plans: Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments 2000-01 to 2001-02, HM Treasury, Apr 00, p 112. Back

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