Tuesday 16 December 2003

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

Not when it's the government.

I feel sorry for this guy:

Michael Dewar, managing director of engineering firm Dewar Associates, has been fined for being a day late with VAT payments, despite being owed nearly £40,000 in government contracts.

HM Customs and Excise levied a £1,300 penalty after Dewar failed to pay his VAT bill on time. Separately, Glasgow’s publicly-funded Housing Association told him he will have to wait for £38,000 owed to him, because the body will be out of funds until next year.

I understand fully that Customs and Excise is run entirely separately from the Housing Association, but it's a bit much for politicians to make a fuss about late payments in industry when they are at least as guilty themselves.

Why was the Housing Association commissioning work while not having access to the funds necessary to pay its suppliers? The public "servants" responsible should be held personally liable for such errors just as would a private-sector businessman.