Looking back one can see that tax collection (in some cases) is just like trying to carry live eels

New figures show that HMRC secured a record £23.9bn in additional tax revenue over the last year as a result of increased activity to make sure people pay the taxes they owe.  The additional tax is up £3.2bn on the previous year and nearly £1bn above the target set at Autumn Statement 2013.

More than £8bn has been secured from large business, over £1bn from criminals and £2.7bn from tackling avoidance schemes in the courts.  HMRC’s compliance activity has resulted in a number of tribunal wins, and also seen corporation tax & stamp duty land tax loopholes closed, protecting the Exchequer from tax going unpaid.

Researched Links:
Two related aspects of a long-term issue

First, a report published by the Law Commission recommends reforms to ensure that the criminal justice system is able to make a stronger & more coherent response to hate crime.   For policing purposes, a crime is recorded as a hate crime if the victim or anyone else believes it to have been motivated by hostility based on any one or more of 5 main characteristicsdisability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation. The criminal offences available do not cover all 5 characteristics.

Secondly, new data from NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes survey shows that 30% of Brits describe themselves as either “very” or “a little” prejudiced against people of other races.  This figure marks a return to previous levels seen before an all-time low in 2001 of 25%, suggesting little headway in tackling racial prejudice over the last 10 years.  Just over 9 in 10 of those who admit to some level of racial prejudice would also like to see a reduction in the current level of immigration, in comparison to around 7 in 10 who say that they’re not prejudiced at all.

Researched Links:
More socially desirable way of funding schemes

A £30m Innovation Fund, developed by the Department for Work and Pensions, supports programmes that re-engage disadvantaged young people aged 16 to 24 in education or training, to improve their employability and reduce their longer-term dependency on benefits.  The funding is provided through social impact bonds (SIBs).

SIBs are a payment by results system where private investors fund innovative projects, often through charities and social enterprises, to prevent young people from becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).  The government then only pays out to the investors if the projects are successful.

Researched Links:
More contributions to the Referendum debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims; Lots of ‘argy-bargy’ last week on costs/benefits of independence  and start-up costs, plus Scottish Affairs Committee publishes its report into Scotland's Membership of the European Union (EU), while the European Policy Centre Think Tank says Scotland would have little difficulty ‘retaining/gaining’ EU membership.

Researched Links:

(Editor’s Note:  As an independent country Scotland would presumably have to set up its own lottery

Young musicians have chance to walk across world’s most ‘famous ‘ zebra crossing ‘to fame’

Classical or contemporary young performers aged between 14 & 24 now have the chance to get their music heard by industry insiders by entering The Big Music Project Competition, part of the BIG Lottery-funded The Big Music Project.

The competition will offer young performers the ultimate opportunity to get up close & personal with the music business and benefit from advice & mentoring from industry executives.   It will provide aspiring musicians with what they need to take a step towards a career as a professional musician.  Winners will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record at the famous Abbey Road Studios and perform live on stage at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Classic FM Live series.

Researched Links:
Why should SMEs have to provide long-term ‘free credit’ to big companies?

The Business Secretary is proposing new measures for greater transparency of company payment practices to help smaller firms get paid on time.  The government will also work with the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) to strengthen the Prompt Payment Code and to increase accountability of signatories.  Where legislation is required to implement the package, it will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Researched Links:

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest: