After 13 years, our founding executive director John Christensen is stepping down. We’re delighted that John will stay on and become our new board chair. And I (Alex Cobham) am honoured to accept the role of chief executive at TJN.
Since I took up the post of Director of Research at the start of last year, I’ve had the chance to look back and think about the achievements so far of John and the network. In changing the political weather on these issues, those achievements are nothing short of extraordinary.
Behind the success of this radical agenda has been the use of high quality research and excellent communications to take clear, innovative solutions into the policy mainstream. The piece below sets out some of the dramatic changes that have taken place, some of the ways that John and TJN have achieved this, and a hint of the work that’s to come. (John would never be so immodest, incidentally – but please forgive me, because the achievements are far from modest.)
The UK’s tax collection agency is more secretive than MI6 and crippled by corporate interests according to a new report launched in the House of Commons yesterday.
Corporate interests now exercise a significant amount of control over HMRC, it says – and it is hard not to agree. All of the non-executive directors of HMRC come from the world of business. There are no representatives of individual tax payers or experts from the world of academia. The current Executive Chair of HMRC, Edward Troup, once called taxation ‘legalised extortion’. Before taking over at the tax collection agency he worked at a law firm linked to companies contained in the Panama Papers. Mr Troup later said his legalised extortion quote had been taken out of context, yet according to Full Fact it came from a 1997 FT article which appeared to be arguing against a General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR).