HMRC Inspectors Receive £1.4 Million in Bonuses 
It has been revealed that HMRC inspectors have been paid more than £1.4 million in bonuses since 2008.

Currently, there are two different bonus schemes which operate for HMRC officials working in criminal investigations. One is performance related, tied to annual work; whilst the second is recognition related for staff, excluding senior civil service, which reflects exceptional in-year performance.

The official figures show that in 2008 / 09 £379,656 was paid in bonuses; followed by £435,689 and £349,168 in the two years that followed. So far in 2001 / 12, £275,326 has been paid, although the Treasury minister, David Guake, did tell MPs the final figure wouldn’t be available until the end of the current financial year.

He added: The overall value of bonuses paid to those working in criminal investigation will be dependent upon the performance of individuals across the performance year.

“Beyond 2013 we cannot provide any forecasts due to the ongoing wider civil service reward reform work.”

Priti Patel, the Conservative backbench MP whose Parliamentary Question forced the Government to disclose the figures, said of the figures disclosed: “That is an astonishing figure in light of the problems the public face across the country. It is positive that they are falling but they are still too high.

“More needs to be done to get the figures down. Bonuses still need to be justified when they are paid out by HMRC.”

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CBI Calls On Chancellor to Deliver “Plan A Plus” 
The CBI is calling on the government to give a £500 million boost to British businesses, through a series of targeted and modest cuts in the budget.

The business lobby group claims that many businesses have the potential to grow and create new job, but confidence within the public sector remains weak.

In an effort to combat this, within its submission ahead of next months budget, the CBI have urged the Chancellor, George Osborne, to deliver “Plan A Plus” to bolster growth and investment.

John Cridland, the CBI director general, said: “With our economy firmly under the international spotlight, there is no time to lose: Plan A plus must become a reality.

“We're calling on the government to make some targeted changes to the UK tax system, which could make an impact on business decisions and create new opportunities for growth."

The CBI are also calling on the government to ensure existing policies set out in the Autumn Statement, such as credit easing which was designed to make it easier for business to borrow, are fully delivered; with John Cridland adding: “The chancellor must use this Budget to score the growth and investment policy goals he put forward in his Autumn Statement.”

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Directors See High Recession Risk 
A recent survey conducted amongst business leaders has suggested that a third of company directors believe there is a high / very high risk of the UK falling into another recession this year.

The Institute of Directors’ (IoD) survey of 1,000 business leaders also found that fifty-three percent thought there was a moderate risk of recession during the year.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed by the IoD think any recession will be short and mild, whilst ten percent believe it’ll be long and deep. One key area of concern highlighted y the survey was the future of the Euro, with half of the company directors believing there is a high or very high risk of a Euro break-up this year.

Graeme Leach, chief economist at the IoD, said: “The resounding message from the survey is the critical role of confidence at this stage in the economic cycle.

“If the Euro crisis stabilises, confidence could return relatively quickly and companies could dust down business investment and recruitment plans put on hold last year.

“Alternatively, of the euro crisis gets worse, confidence is highly unlikely to return this year."

The survey supports previous findings from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research which predicts a UK recession in the first half of 2012, after the UK economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the last quarter of 2011.

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Liechtenstein Banks Want Tighter Reins on Tax Tourists 
Liechtenstein banks want to make British “tax tourists” looking to use a tax amnesty, pay thirty percent of their overseas assets into a bank account in the principality – and to keep it open for a minimum of two years.

Currently Britons only have to show a meaningful connection to Liechtenstein in order to open a bank account there and take advantage of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF); with there being no minimum amount for using the LDF; although some banks do specify their own conditions.

Now the Liechtenstein Bankers’ Association is talking to the Liechtenstein government about tightening the criteria for using the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility which has been used by more than two thousand people since it was set up in 2009.

The banks propose Britons should pay a minimum of 30% of their overseas assets into a Liechtenstein bank account and keep it open for at least two years.

Britons who have a company structure or trust in Liechtenstein will have to pay 20% of their overseas assets and also keep the account open for two years.

Although the details of the proposals haven’t been finalised, Liechtenstein's banks want to stop British investors opening bank accounts in the country, depositing a small proportion of their assets, and closing the account three or four months later after settling their tax liabilities with the UK taxman.

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Financial Transaction Tax Good for Economy 
According to the European Union official in charge of tax policy, the introduction of a financial transaction tax would cause minimal disruption and raise just under £8.5 billion for the government.

Speaking earlier this week, the European Commissioner for taxation and customs union, Algirdas Semeta, told the House of Lords that banks were highly unlikely to relocate anywhere else if the tax was brought in.

Mr. Semeta said: “It is very difficult for me to imagine that a financial institution could move somewhere else and abandon all its clients in the European Union.”

He also added that the European Union's planned implementation of an FTT would "minimise the risk of relocation", though he said he was open to suggestions as to how the risk of activity moving elsewhere could be reduced further.

The European Union expect the financial transaction tax to raise roughly €60 billion across the region every year, of which a fifth would could from the UK; and Mr. Semeta told the House of Lords that all the money raised within the UK would go to the British budgets.

Previously the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Chancellor, George Osborne have publicly stated their opposition to the tax being introduced within the UK; whilst the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy has already announced that France would be introducing the tax from the middle of the year.

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