Govt criticised for 'failing to collect £22bn from taxpayers'

The Government has come under fire from an influential group of MPs for failing to collect billions in debt. The Public Accounts Committee hit out at the coalition's failure to come up with "a strategic, cross-government approach" to collecting debt.

Hodge: Govt relying on 'periodic large write-offs'

The Government's treatment of debt has been "characterised by neglect and periodic large write-offs," according to the head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

After a scathing report into the Government's failue to collect the £22bn it was owed, Margaret Hodge said:

The Government is owed this massive amount of money but it has failed to take a strategic, cross-government approach to managing that debt and getting more money paid to the Exchequer.

Instead its treatment of debt has been characterised by neglect and periodic large write-offs.

– Margaret Hodge

Govt under fire for 'failing to collect £22bn in debt'

An influential group of MPs has hit out at the Government for failing to collect £22bn in unpaid fines and tax as well as overpaid tax credits.

Read: HMRC 'loses its nerve' over big firm tax-avoiders

Unpaid debt
Failure to collect debt was hindering the Government's ability to borrow money, PAC said. Credit: PA

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was highly critical of the Government's failure to collect the unpaid debt, the majority of which (£15 billion) was owed to HMRC.

PAC, chaired by Margaret Hodge, was critical of the Government's failure to launch "a strategic, cross-government approach" to collect the £22bn, the National Audit Office announced the outstanding debt.

In its report, the committee warned that failure to minimise the volume of debt outstanding was having a direct impact on Government borrowing.

"We are concerned that the centre has taken so long to drive improvements in debt collection, given that this should be a basic business activity, and given the huge volume of bad debts that are written off each year."

Read: Talking to the taxman: £8bn clawed from big businesses

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