The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a new report into off-payroll arrangements, which further hits out at the BBC’s use of such contracts. Following their attendance at a commons hearing earlier this year, the latest revelations about the BBC were “shocking” according to the committee’s chair Margaret Hodge.
Describing the situation of tax avoidance in some public sector organisations as “staggeringly inappropriate”, Ms Hodge continued to say; “We were shocked, for example, to discover that the BBC has about 25,000 off-payroll contracts. 13,000 of these are for individuals who are on our screens and on the radio every day. They are the public face of the BBC.”
The committee report called on the government to confirm how they plan to implement the Treasury’s recommendations into the future use of personal service companies and controlling persons taxation within the public sector. The wider issue raised by the committee was the government dependence on interim staff, because of a “continuing and prevalent lack of specialist and professional skills” which highlights the value the public sector place on highly skilled contractors.
Confirming that more than 2,400 central government appointees were benefiting from off-payroll arrangements, the committee stated that tax avoidance within the public sector is much wider than currently revealed. Ms Hodge summarised by saying;
“The public sector must maintain the highest standards of propriety in its employment practices if it is to show leadership in the fight against tax avoidance. It must avoid the practice of using off-payroll arrangements for staff who should be on the payroll – a practice which generates suspicions of complicity in tax avoidance and which fails to meet the standards expected of public officials.”
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