PM urged to act as another Loan Charge contractor commits suicide

Theresa May is being urgently called to intervene in Loan Charge 2019 after a second person facing it has responded by killing themselves.

The prime minister got the call on Friday by the Loan Charge APPG, which said that in the days before their suicide, the person had grown “desperate” due to the demands of HMRC.

Comprised of cross-party MPs, the group says that the death represents the second individual to have now taken their own life, having ‘made clear that the Loan Charge was the reason.’

But the concern is that, without the PM’s intervention, the HMRC tax may claim more lives because the suicide risk of affected customers is 'high, serious and widespread,' the MPs warn.

'HMT not listening'

“The Treasury are not listening,” the group tells Mrs May in a letter, alluding to her referring of the matter at PMQs to HMT, and a refusal of minister Mel Stride to attend their inquiry.

“HMRC are engaged in sending out misleading propaganda and figures that do not stand up to scrutiny. We will be publishing the evidence of this in due course.           

“We are now imploring you to intervene to delay the Loan Charge and suspend settlements immediately. More lives are increasingly at risk”.

'Reckless in the extreme'

Should the PM refuse to intervene, it would be “reckless in the extreme”, Sir Ed Davey, one of the three MP signatories of the letter alongside Ruth Cadbury and Ross Thomson, tells her.

“The only prudent course at this time is to allow a genuine and independent review to take place. This cannot be undertaken by the Treasury: their reputation has already been seriously damaged by their handling of this matter.”

Campaigners suggest that damage was first inflicted when Mr Stride, who failed to even reply to the APPG’s invitation to give evidence, pre-empted HMT’s ongoing review into the charge.

'Whitewash'

Although the review is due to report by March 30th, the MP-group spoke of “real apprehension” about whether a proper review is even actually taking place.

It explained: “There are fears that it will simply be a whitewash to avoid genuine scrutiny of the Loan Charge and HMRC’s actions.”

Ms Cadbury, the Labour MP who is vice-chair of the Loan Charge APPG said: “The failure of the Treasury and HMRC to turn up and answer questions as part of our Loan Charge inquiry is part of a clear pattern of avoiding proper  scrutiny of the Loan Charge. 

“Mel Stride was rightly criticised by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for refusing to appear before them, so whilst their latest no-show is disappointing, it is all too typical of the way this matter has been dealt with.”

'Do the right thing'

Mr Thomson, the Conservative MP and the group’s other vice-chair said: “Last week the inquiry heard very troubling evidence from people facing the Loan Charge, of the likelihood of many families facing bankruptcy and selling their homes and tragically of one harrowing case of someone facing the Loan Charge who took their own life.”

He added: “With the very serious concerns about what could happen when the Loan Charge comes in, we urge the Treasury to do the right thing and announce a delay and then we need a proper independent review”.

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