MPs urge tax and customs tie-up

27 Jan 00
A House of Commons select committee is expected to recommend a merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise in an attempt to streamline both organisations.

28 January 2000

The move has been bitterly resisted for many years because of huge departmental rivalries between the two and claims that their work is too distinct for a successful merger.

However, the Inland Revenue has played down the differences. In an interview with Public Finance, its pragmatic chairman Nick Montague denied there was overt rivalry between the departments. He stressed that both departments collaborated on a number of issues.

'Mergers take up a lot of time, money and energy. We are a socially focused department and work closely with many departments, including social security, education and employment and, of course, Customs & Excise. I wouldn't want talk of a merger with Customs to distract us all from our efforts.'

Further developments for the Inland Revenue are likely to follow next Monday's publication of the second report of the Treasury's Public Services Productivity Panel.

Written by John Makinson, the finance director of Pearson, this will put forward 'radical plans' to incentivise and pay staff in the Revenue, Employment Service, Benefits Agency and Customs & Excise.


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