HC Deb 17 November 1960 vol 630 cc543-4
29. Mr. Houghton

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what legal action has been taken by him, on behalf of the Board of Inland Revenue, against those responsible for publishing libels on officers of that Department in a book called "The Taxgatherers", a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Sowerby.

Sir E. Boyle

No legal action has been taken but I welcome this opportunity of stating that, in my view, the book seriously misrepresents the attitude both of inspectors of taxes and their staffs to the taxpaying public.

Mr. Houghton

I thank the Financial Secretary for that forthright reply. Has he no stronger remedy against the contemptible allegations by an ex-member of the Inland Revenue against colleagues with whom he served for 16 years? For example, cannot he challenge the author of this book to apply for reinstatement in the Department to give himself a further opportunity of setting an example of what a good inspector of taxes should be?

Sir E. Boyle

Quite frankly, I have read the book, and I do not think that a book which seriously seeks to compare our system of taxation with the 18th century criminal code is deserving of careful study or sustained consideration. But I do not want to use a lot of strong adjectives which might only hit the headlines in the Press and encourage hon. Members to waste time and money on the book.