IT goes without saying that there is a world of difference between those individuals who deliberately set out to defraud HMRC – and all those people who took professional advice before becoming unwitting victims of the loan charge scandal.
It is with the latter that The Yorkshire Post stands as perturbing new evidence emerges about how the prospect of indebtedness, the consequence of a Treasury rule change, is affecting the lives – and mental health – of those caught up in this controversy.
They’re not necessarily wealthy individuals with the financial means to write out a large cheque to HMRC whose aggressive tactics – and wall of silence from senior officials – continue to leave so much to be desired.
Many are people of modest means, from professions as varied as locum doctors to IT contractors and oil and gas workers, who now risk losing everything unless the Government adopts a more compassionate approach while, simultaneously, undertaking an urgent review into the policy and the unusual decision to backdate the changes.
And it speaks volumes about the extent to which Ministers – and the HMRC – have mishandled the situation that not only are victims contacting this newspaper on a regular basis, but that a helpline has also had to be set up to assist those who have no one else to turn to.
Given that both Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid cited the issue during the Tory leadership campaign, perhaps they – as Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively – will now meet campaigners and come up with a solution before the next Budget. Nothing less will suffice.