Who uses the word diddling these days??

‘Paying cash in hand is ‘diddling the country’, says HMRC’s Dave Hartnett’. I had to read this headline twice to make sure I hadn’t miss read the word diddling.

Diddling is the sort of word I would expect some cutesy 40 something female journalist to use when writing about the book keeper for the local WI being caught fiddling the petty cash. Mr Hartnett might be really good at counting beans, but his use of words indicates somebody seriously out of touch with the real world.

Trying to convince us that tackling the black economy (apologies to the PC Brigade for using a time honoured term), in the same week the boss of HSBC is given a £963,000 bonus for not being as crap as his predecessors and the Daily Telegraph prints a table of how HMG spends (squanders) our money, is a perfect piece of convergence. As such, it is certain to make Mr Dave ‘diddling’ Hartnett look like an even bigger plonker than he already does.

Wake up, some red tape is essential

In a clear demonstration of central government’s failure to comprehend what joined up government is about, the Department for Business is resisting attempts to up date the law in respect of scrap metal dealers. Despite the epidemic of metal threats we are currently suffering, these bureaucrats are quoting the government’s drive to reduce red tape as their reason for resisting this desperately needed change to an outdated act.

No doubt there has been some form of lobbying from those in the trade, underpinning this stance by the department. However, unless these civil servants have been living on the other side of the moon for the last 12 months, it’s difficult to understand how they can ignore the criminal activity that has seen war memorial desecrated, trains stopped in their tracks and hospital operation cancelled. Reports of damage to churches and other public building, as well as private houses appear in the press almost daily, demonstrating a need for urgent action.

I wonder if it isn’t time for the taxman to take a hand in this and remind ministers that there’s an nice little earner to be had from finding out exactly how much money changes hands in the mainly cash in hand world of scrap metal dealing? I doubt whether too many scrap metal dealers would be able to wine and dine the HMRC officials in the same way as the likes of Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs have been doing, so we should actually see the full amount of tax being paid, once the legislation takes effect.