Any Google tax settlement concerns lie with lawmakers, not tax officials, says HMRC union

29 January 2016
(For immediate release)

Reacting to criticism of civil servants in relation to the Google tax settlement announced this week, Dave Penman, General Secretary of the FDA - the union representing senior managers and professionals in HMRC - said:

"The bottom line is that HMRC officials can only work within the law.

"Governments and politicians of all colours are vulnerable to lobbying and accusations of being anti-business when it comes aggressive tax legislation. Tax officials are not.

"Enforcement requires a continued investment in HMRC if it is to unravel the complex avoidance strategies of multinationals, and the many millions of pounds that these companies invest in big accountancy firms to support their strategies.

"Underpaid civil servants have been working tirelessly on behalf of the public to ensure that everyone - from multinational corporations to individuals - pays the correct amount of tax as the law requires.

"HMRC has demonstrated that investment in highly-skilled public servants delivers results.

"During the previous parliament HMRC achieved record-breaking revenues of more than £517bn, with compliance yields up by more than 43% since 2011/12. All of this was achieved whilst meeting Government demands to cut resources by around 25%.

"However convenient it is for politicians to use civil servants as political pawns, if Ministers are serious about further tackling multinationals, they need to provide tax officials with the legislation and resources to deliver the results they seek."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

2. More about the FDA's 'New Government: New Deal' campaign can be found at

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at

5. For further information contact:

  • Dave Penman, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07980 700747.