Over 150 Parliamentarians sign letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor calling for a resolution to the ‘Loan Charge scandal’
Over 150 Parliamentarians have now signed the open letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor urging a resolution to ‘the Loan Charge scandal’, with ten people having already been confirmed by HMRC as taking their own life facing the Loan Charge.
The tenth suicide was announced in a letter from the First Permanent Secretary and CEO Jim Harra to the Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Harriet Baldwin MP (page 3). The APPG and other Parliamentarians have raised the well-known suicide risk with HMRC and the Government repeatedly yet so far, there has been a refusal to change course, despite this.
The Parliamentarians’ letter states, “If the Government does not act to instruct HMRC to change course, we are fearful of what the consequences will be as thousands of people simply cannot pay the huge sums being demanded”. The letter refers to the survey conducted by the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG in Spring 2021, that showed that there is a real risk of more suicides, as well as many families facing hardship as a result of the Loan Charge and associated HMRC activity. Since then, there have been at least two more Loan Charge suicides.
As well as the open letter, an Early Day Motion, EDM 927 on the Loan Charge, has also been tabled by MPs calling for a resolution and also an investigation into the whole Loan Charge Scandal. The EDM has been tabled by Karl Turner, who is a member of the APPG and supported by Sammy Wilson and other APPG members.
The open letter and the EDM are both calling on the Government to change course, in light of the ten suicides and to instruct HMRC to introduce a settlement opportunity, one that reflects that people were recommended to use their arrangements, were reassured that they were compliant with tax law, and that HMRC failed to act at the time.
Such a resolution has been proposed by a group of tax sector professionals who have signed up to a proposal to resolve the Loan Charge. Nearly 70 professionals – tax lawyers, chartered accountants, tax advisers and sector commentators – have backed the proposal urging the Government to act, to avoid further suicides, but also to resolve the issue for the Government and for HMRC and face a considerable administrative burden, as well as continuing to be criticised for the way they have behaved throughout the whole scandal.
The open letter also refers to the central injustice, that those who have been mis-sold schemes are being hit with huge bills, whilst those who recommended, promoted and operated the schemes are not being chased for a penny of the disputed tax.
The letter concludes by urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to instruct Ministers “to seek a fair resolution and to properly engage with all parties and consider all options to resolve this issue, fairly and practically, once and for all so that an end can be put to this nightmare for tens of thousands of UK families”.
The EDM also calls for a full investigation into the Loan Charge and the way it has been handled, as well as the fact ten people have taken their own lives.
Commenting, Loan Charge APPG Co-Chairs said:
Sammy Wilson MP, Co-Chair of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (DUP):
“Over 150 Parliamentarians have now signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor about the Loan Charge, which shows the ongoing serious concern in Parliament about this whole injustice.
“We wrote to the then Chancellor about the ninth suicide and nothing changed and now there has been a tenth tragic death, we urge the Prime Minister and current Chancellor to finally listen and instruct HMRC to find a way out of the current situation, avoid further unnecessary tragedies but also to resolve this whole mess for the Government and HMRC. The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG will continue to challenge HMRC and their approach as well as calling on the Chancellor to listen and act”.
Greg Smith MP, Co-Chair of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (Conservative):
“The current approach of HMRC is not only unfair it is also dangerous. Ten suicides is ten too many and to simply continue in light of these tragedies is completely wrong. Tens of thousands of individuals and families are with the nightmare of losing everything. Without a change in approach, there will be bankruptcies, people losing homes and alas, a strong likelihood of even more suicides.
“It is time for Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt to listen and act and will work with the tax sector professionals calling for a resolution, to find a way out of this mess for all sides. We hope that even more Parliamentarians will sign the letter, to show the level of concern in Westminster and to convince the Government to do the right thing and act”.
Baroness Susan Kramer, Co-Chair of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (Liberal Democrat):
“The Loan Charge Scandal is a huge injustice, with people being penalised for taking and following professional advice. Impacted workers and directors were mis-sold these schemes and are facing ruin, whilst those who recommended and mis-sold the schemes aren’t being chased for a penny by HMRC, despite making a huge amount of money from recommending and operating them.
“The Loan Charge has been a policy disaster, with similar schemes openly marketed and more people at risk. The Government claim that the purpose of the Loan Charge is to ‘draw a line’ under the use of such schemes, but as well as the ongoing promotion of schemes, four years on from coming into force, many families live under the constant cloud of facing retrospective action from HMRC. The Treasury and HMRC are well aware there remains a serious suicide risk and to ignore this and to continue with the current approach is negligent, as well as immoral. We urge the Prime Minister to listen and act before any more lives are lost”.
Notes to Editors
- The Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) consists of parliamentarians of all parties from both Houses of Parliament to raise concerns about the 2019 Loan Charge as well as the wider context of fairness of tax legislation and the conduct of HMRC. The Loan Charge APPG is an officially registered Parliamentary Group, as described on the UK Parliament website parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/. The APPG website is www.loanchargeappg.co.uk and the APPG is also on Twitter @LoanChargeAPPG.
- The Officers of the Loan Charge APPG are as follows:
- Sammy Wilson MP (DUP) – Co-Chair and registered contact
- Greg Smith MP (Conservative) – Co-Chair
- Baroness Susan Kramer (Liberal Democrat) – Co-Chair
- Dr Lisa Cameron MP (SNP) – Vice-Chair
- Gerald Jones MP (Labour) – Vice-Chair
- Sarah Olney MP (Liberal Democrat) – Vice-Chair
- Fleur Anderson MP (Labour) – Officer
- Henry Smith MP (Conservative) – Officer
- Alex Sobel MP (Labour) – Officer
- Mohammed Yasin MP (Labour) – Officer