evaders told to come clean
TAX cheats who have been hiding investments
and assets in the Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey to evade tax are
being asked to pay the tax they owe before HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
clamps down on them.
Ground-breaking agreements will tackle offshore tax evasion using
bank accounts and other structures in the Crown Dependencies.
The tax evaders have until 30 September 2016 to disclose hidden
assets or investments and pay the tax, interest and any penalties
due. At the end of this period, HMRC will automatically receive
information from banks in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man
identifying all account holders.
The disclosure facility allows people to voluntarily settle their
tax affairs before HMRC starts to target fraudsters who refuse to
Those who ignore the disclosure opportunity could face criminal
prosecution, significantly higher penalties, and the risk of having
their names published.
A package of measures designed for those hiding assets offshore was
agreed between the UK and the governments of the Isle of Man in
February 2013, and Guernsey and Jersey in March 2013.
Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said:- "The net is closing in
on those seeking to hide their money offshore to evade their tax
responsibilities. While the majority of people and businesses pay
what they owe, this Government is determined to tackle the minority
of tax evaders who don't. The HMRC centre of excellence for tackling
offshore tax evasion, which received additional funding in the
Budget, is already bearing fruit. It is vital that everyone pays
what they owe and that's why we have made nearly a billion pounds
available to HMRC to create a level tax playing field."
HMRC's Director General for Enforcement and Compliance, Jennie
Granger, said:- "HMRC is making sure that there is no safe
haven for people who want to try and cheat the tax system by hiding
their money overseas. These disclosure facilities give an
opportunity for individuals with investments in the Isle of Man,
Guernsey or Jersey to make a voluntary disclosure of any undeclared
tax liabilities to HMRC before we challenge them. People with
overseas assets or investments who have correctly declared income to
HMRC and paid tax have nothing to fear. Those who haven't, and who
do not make use of the disclosure facilities, face the prospect of a
criminal investigation or a significant financial penalty, and the
risk of having their name published, once the new information
sharing agreement kicks in."
For more details of HMRC offshore disclosure facilities please
Liverpool University Hospital - Treasury Decision
THE Department of Health and Treasury have now
approved the draft appointment business case for the new Royal
Liverpool University Hospital. Both Department of Health and
the Treasury have assessed our draft appointment business case over
the past few months. The next step is for us to assess the
final bids by our 2 bidders; Carillion and Horizon. We will then
make a decision in the next few weeks on which 1 of these bidders
will design and build our new hospital.
Aidan Kehoe, chief executive, said:- "I am delighted that we
are now just weeks away from unveiling the design for our new
hospital. The new Royal is at the very heart of our City and this is
a significant step forward in the creation of our world-class
hospital. It also brings us one step closer to the creation of the
Liverpool BioCampus, which has the potential to transform the City,
propelling us onto the world stage along with Boston and Singapore."
After the bidder is appointed, we will obtain final planning
permission and sign contracts, with work on the hospital expected to
begin early 2014. The new Royal will then open in 2017.
Web of rip-off
landbanking companies torn apart by Insolvency Service
6 companies that scammed the public into
investing in plots of agricultural land have been wound up by the
High Court on public interest grounds, following an investigation by
The Insolvency Service.
The companies falsely claimed to investors that they would obtain
planning permission to dramatically increase the value of this land.
The 6 companies, all based in the North of England were:-
► Green Crest Homes Ltd. in Halifax
► Brand Trader (UK) Ltd. (formerly known
as Green Crest Homes (UK) Ltd.) in Formby, Merseyside
► Sutton Wells Ltd. in Horwich, Lancashire
► Curved Ball Ltd. in Horwich, Lancashire
► JCB Marketing Ltd. in Beverley,
► NSS-Operations Ltd. in Horwich,
The companies traded from premises at 70 High St, Newton-Le-Willows,
Merseyside, WA12 9SH. Collectively they operated a landbanking
scheme selling small plots of land at a site which they described to
investors as the 'Pennine View Project' in Liversedge,
Prospective investors were told that Green Crest Homes Ltd was
seeking planning permission for residential development of the land
and once they obtained this permission, the value of an average
investment of £11,000 could increase by more than ten times, to as
much as £120,000.
However, The Insolvency Service investigation found that the
companies had made no application for planning permission to develop
the land and, even if they had done, it was extremely unlikely that
permission would have been granted.
At least 43 plots were sold to investors for around £11,000 each.
Green Crest Homes Ltd. and Brand Trader (UK) Ltd. received the sale
proceeds, while Sutton Wells Ltd., Curved Ball Ltd. and JCB
Marketing Ltd. acted as marketing companies for Green Crest Homes
Previously the three marketing companies had performed a similar
role for another landbanking company CLS & Partners Ltd., which took
almost £1 million from investors in exchange for plots of land at
Ossett, Wakefield and was shut down in the public interest in May
2012, following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.
The Service's more recent investigation found that Curved Ball Ltd.
had received funds from landbanking schemes run by CLS & Partners
Ltd, as well as the Pennine View Project and several others. In
total, Curved Ball Ltd. had received more than £1.8m from the
landbanking schemes but all of these funds had been dissipated and
the company had been dissolved on the application of its directors.
No adequate records were produced to explain where the money had
NSS-Operations Ltd provided administrative services to Green Crest
Homes Ltd and CLS & Partners Ltd.
Commenting on the case the Investigation Supervisor with The
Insolvency Service, Colin Cronin, said:- "These companies
persuaded members of the public to invest thousands of pounds in
plots of land that they falsely claimed that they were seeking
planning permission for. The companies said this planning permission
was highly likely to be obtained and would result in a significant
increase in the value of the land. In reality, no steps had been
taken to obtain planning permission and there was very little
prospect of any being granted. The Insolvency Service will take firm
action against companies and their directors when the public are
deliberately misled in this manner. The advice to anyone who is
approached to invest in land in this way is to take time to reflect,
seek independent advice and research the company in question. If a
scheme sounds too good to be true, it usually is."
HMRC offers new set of online tax
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched a
new raft of free online webinars giving tax help. The live webinars
are led by HMRC staff and include time for participants to ask
questions online. Some of the webinars are also available as
pre-recorded versions that can be watched at any time of day. The
latest webinars cover employer annual returns, business
record-keeping and tax advice for childminders. Attendees can take
part from their own home or office, or on the move using a
smartphone or tablet. For more information and to book, visit the
website and for direct
links to each webinar to register click on
here. Employers have a deadline
of 19 May 2013 to submit Annual Returns (P35 and P14s).
evaders told to come clean
MALE drivers are being urged to use their head
and not lose it at the wheel, as a survey out today by
Direct Line reveals almost 1 in
4 (24%) risk catastrophic head-on crashes by overtaking blind, while
more than four in 10 (44%) admit speeding at 60mph+ on rural roads.
Men are much more likely to take these deadly risks than women, and
more than twice as likely to have been involved in an overtaking
near-miss or incident.
The Brake and Direct Line survey of 1,000
UK drivers found:-
► Almost 1 in 4 men (24%) and 1 in 6 women
(18%) admitted overtaking when they couldn't be certain nothing was
coming, in the past year.
► 1 in 5 men (20%) and one in 10 women
(9%) have been involved in an overtaking near-miss or incident while
driving in the past year.
► More than half of all drivers (54%) have
witnessed an overtaking near-miss or incident by another driver in
the past year, with 1 in 5 (19%) experiencing a vehicle approaching
on their side of the road.
► Over half of women (52%) have been
afraid when travelling as a passenger when their driver has
overtaken another vehicle in the past year, compared to 44% of men.
► More than four in 10 men (44%) have
broken a 60mph limit on a rural road, compared to 1 in 4 women (24%)
and men are twice as likely to do this monthly or more (20% compared
► In 2011 (latest statistics available), 6
in 10 UK road deaths were on rural roads; that's 1,197 people
violently and tragically losing their lives.
► 4 in 10 serious
injuries were on rural roads, meaning 9,952 people suffered serious
and often long-lasting or permanent harm.
► 3 in 4 people
(75%) killed on UK roads are male.
Brake and Direct Line are urging the minority of male and female
drivers who take the deadly risks of overtaking blind or speeding on
rural roads to recognise that driving safely protects you, the ones
you love and people around you. Drivers are urged to make Brake's
Pledge to show their commitment to keeping themselves and others
Brake is also pressing for government and local authority action to
lower speed limits on rural roads to 50mph or lower and implement
measures to deter speeding and overtaking, especially on crash
black-spots and road that pass through rural communities. Brake is
highlighting that simple, often low-cost engineering measures can
significantly reduce casualties. It is also calling for the
government to get tough on rural road risk by funding wider traffic
enforcement and running publiCity campaigns to raise awareness of
the dangers involved in driving too fast and overtaking. Read about
Brake's campaign on rural roads.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer at Brake, the road safety
charity, said:- "Overtaking dangerously or driving too fast on
rural roads puts yourself and others in grave danger, risking
needless deaths and injuries. Some people kid themselves they can
get away with excessive speeds and dangerous manoeuvres, because
they know the road. Yet driving on rural roads is highly
unpredictable, and the consequences of risk-taking often horrendous.
Every mph faster you go, you reduce your chance of being able to
react in an emergency. Overtaking is an especially risky manoeuvre,
because it's impossible to be 100% sure you have enough free road
ahead. That's why our advice is avoid overtaking unless essential,
stay well within limits, and slow right down for bends, brows, in
bad conditions and in communities. Hang back, slow down and chill
out. Prioritising safety above arriving a few minutes faster could
spare your family or someone else's a huge amount of heartache."
Simon Henrick, spokesperson at Direct Line Car Insurance, said:-
"More than 3 people die on rural roads in the UK each and every day
and many of these deaths could be prevented. Our own data suggests
that young drivers and their passengers are even more likely to die
on this type of road. Drivers should remember that patience is a
virtue when it comes to deciding to overtake another vehicle, as it
could be a life saver."
Many drivers mistakenly think rural roads are safer, because they
are often quieter. In reality, they are shared by all types of road
users and there are many hazards, such as tight bends, blind corners
and brows, and narrow roads. This means drivers may have little time
to react to hazards, and this is reduced considerably by driving
faster. At 60mph, a driver's stopping distance is 73metres, about 3
tennis courts' length. The high speeds with which many people
navigate these roads also mean that crashes are more likely to cause
serious injuries or death than on slower roads. In fact, per mile
travelled, rural roads are the most dangerous for all kinds of road
user, and it's on these roads that the majority of road deaths
Overtaking on single carriageways is incredibly dangerous, given
that it involves driving on the wrong side of the road at speed. It
is impossible for drivers to accurately judge the speed and distance
of approaching traffic, and whether they have sufficient clear road
to complete the manoeuvre. They also cannot be certain the vehicle
they are overtaking will not speed up. Where overtaking is
concerned, a small error of judgement can easily be fatal. The gap
between you and oncoming traffic can disappear very fast. If you are
driving at 60mph and the oncoming vehicle is also travelling at
60mph, the gap between you closes at 120mph, or about 60 metres a
There is clear evidence that in general male drivers take more
risks, are hurt or killed more, and cause more deaths on roads than
women. Some researchers argue it is down to biology, others say it's
more about societal expectations placed on boys from a young age,
rewarding riskier behaviour. Whatever the reasons, it is certain
that risk-taking on roads leads to terrible consequences for many
men and women every day. That's why Brake is urging everyone to make
its Pledge to use roads safely.
Advice for drivers
Country roads often have speed limits that are far too high,
dangerous sharp bends, and unexpected hazards. You never know when a
cyclist, horse rider or jogger will be round the corner or over the
next brow. When passing people on foot, bikes and horses, slow right
down and give them plenty of space. Never risk overtaking on rural
roads unless you are overtaking a very slow moving vehicle such as a
tractor, the road is clear and straight, and you won't have to drive
at excessive speeds or above the limit to do it. Otherwise, just
hang back from the vehicle in front and enjoy the journey.
Richard and Gill Clutterbuck, from Great Bowden, near Market
Harborough, were riding their horses along a rural road, on a bright
Tuesday morning in August 2010. They had stopped at the side of the
road to allow a passing vehicle on the other side of the road to go
by without scaring the horses.
Suddenly a sports vehicle overtook the car, passing onto the wrong
side of the road and crashing head on into Richard and his horse.
Richard's horse went over the bonnet of the vehicle and was killed
by the impact. Richard was thrown and broke vertebrae in his lower
back and three ribs when he hit the road. Gill's horse collapsed on
top of her, rupturing a ligament in Gill's knee.
Richard had to undergo surgery and it was feared he would be
paralysed because of damage to his vertebrae. Surgeons managed to
stabilise his back by injecting cement into the damaged bones before
pinning them with titanium rods.
Richard said:- "It is sheer luck that I wasn't killed that
day, and I put this down to the size of my horse Linford - who sadly
lost his life - and the excellent work of medical professionals. It
was an awful, terrifying experience that I would not wish on anyone,
and it's taken me a long time to recover physically. It has had a
terrible emotional impact on both me and my wife. It's vital that
drivers understand that rural roads are shared roads, so they must
drive cautiously, and never overtake unless it's absolutely
essential and 100% safe. A lot of the time overtaking makes very
little difference anyway - and it could have appalling consequences
for you or another innocent person."
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop
the 5 deaths and 66 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every
day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road
crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education
programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (18 November to 24
November 2013), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to
companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims
through a helpline and other services.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable
events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work
to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives
have been torn apart by needless casualties.