back to article HMRC staff fired for racism over benefits

Seven HMRC staff in Belfast have been fired for tampering with computer records to stop ethnic minorities receiving benefits. The sackings yesterday followed the resignation of two more tax administrators when an internal investigation was launched earlier this year. The nine men were accused of changing the tax records of …


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  1. Lionel Baden

    Bugger me sideways and call me susan !!

    An appropriate response from the Govermnt !!!

    im still shell shocked !!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bugger me sideways and call me susan !!

      I'll call you Susan but I'll be buggered if... Oh, never mind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Police, Take Note!

      ""The vast majority of our people are entirely professional and one of the ways we support that professionalism is by taking decisive action against the tiny minority who let us all down by falling far short of those standards," said Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax."

      If only the Police - the Met especially - would take this kind of attitude.

      When "a few bad apples" do their stuff, the police all too often seem to respond to criticism defensively. They plead it's only "a few bad apples", even though the majority of "good apples" don't seem to do very much to stop the "few bad apples". (The case of Ian Tomlinson is a very visible example of this.) If, instead of closing ranks and defensively pleading collective innocence, they pro-actively singled out the "few bad apples" like they're supposed to, they might have a lot more public support and trust. But no, the police never seem to learn, no matter how many decades pass.

      I wouldn't be surprised if they can't even tell the difference between Dave Hartnett's apparent pro-active intolerance of wrong-doing, and their own defensive pleas of "a few bad apples".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ... bent as a nine bob bit. Always have been.

    This latest news comes as no surprise.

    1. Anonymous John

      Not it isn't..

      After almost 40 years working for HMRC, I've never come across anything like this. I knew someone sacked for theft from an office sports club, and knew of someone prosecuted for bogus repayments. About what you'd expect for any large employer.

      No racism whatsoever, although I can't speak for Northern Ireland.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not the first time for Northern Ireland

        Not the first time in NI as I recall...Wasn't there a cohersion racket going on regarding VAT registrations as well....

        There might be something going on more institutionalised up there....And then looking at McNeills comments on how we are treating Scotland, the Welsh wanting everything their own way anyway....I'm thinking we in England are better off just letting them all go their own way instead of propping up their economies if they want it all themselves...

        Leave our poor relations to it...

  3. Code Monkey


    That's truly vile.

  4. mhoobag

    Britians full.. Time to go..

    I'm a white ethnic minority in central London and have not received my tax credits. Now I know why..

    The whole government are trolls.

    1. Lionel Baden
      Thumb Up

      This made my evening

      Ignore the Downvotes !!!

    2. Magnus_Pym



  5. Ian Ferguson

    Re. "appropriate response"

    Firing isn't an appropriate response here, being fired AND prosecuted for race hate crimes would be.

    It's really quite astonishing that such small-minded people can be given responsibility like this. I do hope HMRC tighten up their interview and background check procedures.

    1. Adam Foxton

      So the Interview under your system

      "Do you hate blacks?"



      "err... No. Well, I don't like the ones that attacked London. But apart from that, no."

      "good answer- it was more reasoned than the reflexive, flat-out "no"s we get."

      "Hey, thanks!"

      "We just need to run a background check and we'll get back to you soon!"


      *Member of any terrorist groups? No.

      *Member of KKK? No.

      *Committed Race Hate crimes? None showing up with a police check thing.

      Yup, he's a great candidate. Bring him in!

      One year later, we get this headline.

      Or have I got the wrong end of the stick? What sort of background checks would you expect to have performed on you if you went for this job?

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @ Ian Ferguson

      Even though I don't approve of "hate crimes" being on the book (too close to thought-crime for my taste), I fully approve of your sentiment. A creative prosecutor should be able to find something to charge them with (the only downside being that their defence would be on the taxpayer).

  6. Anonymous Coward

    They have to do something

    now they can't legally discriminate against Catholics

  7. Rogerborg

    Racists, or realists?

    So, are we talking about them stitching up UK nationals with UK resident kids and a bit of a funny name?

    Or are these cases of UK resident Johan Foreigner claiming UK child benefit for their foreign resident, foreign national kids? You know, while UK resident UK nationals are stopped from claiming child benefit if their UK national kids go abroad for more than 12 weeks? That situation?

    Just because HMRC is pillorying these staff as racists doesn't make it so. They may just have one of those old fashioned things called a sense of fair play. It's a British thing, you might not understand.

    1. tumbleworld


      One law for the clearly superior locals, and one for the filthy godless foreign scum taking our women and jobs, is that it? My oh my, makes me proud to be British.

    2. Ancient Oracle funkie

      I know I shouldn't respond to a troll but ...

      ... you are an idiot! (I was going to say tw*t but decided to be nice).

      It makes no difference who these people were. If they were legally entitled to these benefits and were illegally denied them based purely on race - that is racism.

      Please return to reading your Dail Mail and leave El Reg to us grown-ups.

      Fail - for so many reasons

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @a British thing, you might not understand...

      very reasonable and non-judgemental of you to make up a scenario in which racist scumbags are innocent victims.

      If you had any idea how hard it is to dismiss people from government jobs you might reconsider your sympathy.

      My guess would be these people are the tip of a very large iceberg. What makes them different is the evidence against them can't be hidden or ignored even by HMRC management

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      @ Rogerborg

      I take it you have hard evidence that the latter case happens. You know, it's a British thing ... (actually it isn't, just as having a sense of fair play isn't solely British either).

      I'm tired of the Anglo-Saxon male whining about being an abused minority (and I'm an Anglo-Saxon male). Look at the statistics - we aren't!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Will someone please look at OFSTED now??

    They are abusing their powers to attack Nursery owners they dont get along with.

  9. Sonny Jim

    One question

    Why the hell haven't all 7 been arrested and charged rather than just 'suspended'? Can anyone explain this to me?

    1. Blue eyed boy

      Sobvious innit

      This was a cosy little arrangement with the silent consent of management at all levels - until some f***er blew the whistle. Then they had to be seen to be doing something. Once this all blows over the perps will be quietly reinstated and it will be back to business as usual.

  10. Blue eyed boy

    As it's Belfast the question must be asked

    Is it prots or cafflicks that's been hacked? Whichever, it'll be the other lot that's responsible.

    Undecided between joke and flame.

    Update: the joke has just won.

  11. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @As it's Belfast

    I suppose it's progress that the good people of Norn-Iron are now discriminating on the basis of skin color like normal people instead of worrying about transubstantiation.

    1. Blue eyed boy

      @ instead of worrying about transubstantiation.

      That's disgusting. Nine Hail Marys alternating with recitations of Article XXVIII.

  12. johnB
    Big Brother

    Not the outfit I knew

    This is soo sad. When I worked for HMRC we were bombarded with compulsory "diversity" courses & awareness events. I really wouldn't think anyone within HMRC would behave in this manner (or be so stupid as to think they wouldn't be caught).

    And, Mr AC, HMRC mgt take extreme umbridge to any of their staff who are not 100% honest. Just because you may not like what they tell you (esp in relation to IR35), that doesn't justify the "nine bob bit" slur.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    This is why applications should be anonymized

    Much harder to discriminate when the adjudicator only has the facts of the case, not the fact that they are called Campbell/O'Campbell/Campbellowicz/Campbell-Patel. I think this should hold true not just of gov stuff like tax and benefits but college applications, jobs, the works.

  14. John Savard Silver badge


    But when will they be convicted and jailed? Hopefully for several years.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Okay, the facts exist but consequences?

    (a) what were the perps motives?

    (b) why did they change stuff and what did they hope to gain by changing stuff

    (c) what pressures management, budget management, financial, ethical or otherwise were exerted upon the perps either formally (usually memo'd) or informally (usually spoken instruction by sly, crafty manager to make it happen without an audit trail)

    A full, robust and public (pubic?) inquiry if you please!

    In something like this the facts themselves are both sufficient and insufficient. To whom were the perps cow-towing to?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm worried...

    that they only take "decisive action against the tiny minority who let us all down by falling FAR short of those standards".

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      Good point, well made.

  17. montyburns56

    Sectarianism traded in for racism?

    Now that they've stopped attacking their fellow Irishmen to a large degree, they do seem to have turned their hatred onto ethnic minorities in NI, so this story does not surprise me at all.

  18. Clarissa

    Dictionary needed

    "Everyone affected has been reimbursed, HMRC said."

    Sorry HMRC but reimbursed is not the word you are looking for here as you were not paying back or refunding any money.

    On the matter of the sackings could HMRC say how many people were sacked for overpaying benefits to people? I'm almost willing to put money down that the answer is zero.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      And why ...

      ... should anyone be suspended for overpaying benefits, unless it is deliberate fraud? What is your point?

  19. Neoc

    I must be missing something....

    Why would an "ethnic minority" get more for child support?

    OK, I admit I don't understand why *any* group should receive more than any other group, so I will probably be labelled a racist/sexist/whateverist. Actually, I'm the worse nightmare for any "minority" group; I believe in equality - I'm not better than you, and you aren't better than me, so why should we be treated differently?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, you're missing something

      "Why would an "ethnic minority" get more for child support?"

      They don't. HTH.

    2. Dave Harris Bronze badge

      You are missing something.

      It's not that the benefit levels vary according to ethnicity, they vary according to the level of tax and NI paid, and over how long. Change those figures, and you affect the level of benefits payable.

      The article states fairly clearly that the scumbags were targeting people based on ethnicity and changing the details of tax/NI paid.

    3. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      My guess...

      People dont (to the best of my knowledge) receive extra funding for coming from a different ethnic group. You may receive more or less based on your income but that has bugger all to do with race or ethnicity.

      So it was probably something along the lines of reducing the child support for a family with two children so that they only got the money for one of the children not both...

      So whilst your making a point about equality, the rules are already written to be as equal as possible and you just come across sounding like a condescending twat. Probably next time try to write with a little more balance...

      1. Neoc

        Thank you.

        @Dave Harris: Thanks. I had obviously misread/misunderstood the article.

        @Iglethal: No, the rules *aren't* written to be as equal as possible. All over the Western World, there are rules on the books for no other purpose than to "redress" old wrongs done to minorities. I am all for making sure there are no discriminations, but why then allow "minorities" to discriminate against the "majority"? To whit: recently, there was a (successful) legal campaign here to force a Gentlemen's Club to open its doors to women (no, I did not ever belong to said club). However, all attempts at forcing women-only clubs to open their doors to men are dismissed. Why? Surely if we were *actually equal* neither gender-only clubs should be allowed to exist - or both should? But thanks to Government over-reaction (anyone here think *any* western government's reaction to 9/11 was not over the top?) we do not have equality yet. Say anything against a woman and you're sexist. Disagree with a black person and you're racist. Think the government is going over the top with anti-terror laws and you're pro-terrorism. Ditto with idiotic policies couched in "won't somebody think of the children" terms (which seems to be the latest modus-operandi to pass stupid laws which would otherwise be dismissed). And as soon as you're labelled, it doesn't matter how stupid the policies are or how good your arguments might be: it's dismissed as the ranting of a whatever-ist.

        So no, I *don't* think we have equality and I don't think we'll have it any time soon. But I can hope.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Thank you.

          The immediate insistence that a group which has clearly suffered from discrimination is now demanding preferential treatment is rarely indicative of proper perspective.

          In other words, it's the first thing a lot of bigots say after "I'm not a bigot, but...".

          1. Neoc

            Thank you.

            And thank *you*, Miss Bee, for making my point for me by immediately labelling me a "bigot" and thus dismissing my point of view as the rantings of such.

            1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Thank you.

              I don't believe I did label you as such. You may be on the defensive. Read again.

              1. Neoc

                Re: Thank you.

                I may indeed have been on the defensive after iglethal's reply. However, please see it from my point of view:

                After I stated that there are a lot of laws still on the books whose sole purpose is to "positively discriminate" against minorities, you reply "the immediate insistence that a group which has clearly suffered from discrimination is now demanding preferential treatment is rarely indicative of proper perspective". Since I was pointing out those "preferential treatments", I took it as referring to my reply. When you followed with "In other words, it's the first thing a lot of bigots say after 'I'm not a bigot, but...'." the close association of these two paragraphs casts an implied statement that I, due to my view, am a bigot.

                This may not have been your intent (if so, I apologise for over-reacting) but working for a news-site, you should be well aware of how easily implied comments can become "facts".

                1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

                  Re: Re: Thank you.

                  OK. So - you're not a bigot. That's alright then.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    identifying ethnic minorities

    If they didn't record your ethnic identity then HMRC couldn't discriminate against you !

  21. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What We Need

    This wouldn't happen if we had ID cards, would it?

    So when are we getting the ID cards then?

    And Paris because I'm up for it if she'll get down for it.

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