Revenue Scotland boss may have ‘misled Parliament’

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Picture: TSPL
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Picture: TSPL
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THE HEAD OF Revenue Scotland may have misled Parliament when giving evidence to a Holyrood committee, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Party leader Willie Rennie said a statement made by Eleanor Emberson while giving evidence to the Finance Committee was at odds with the findings of a recent report about the progress of the body.

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Revenue Scotland is being set up to collect the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which replaces the current stamp duty, and the Scottish Landfill Tax from April 2015.

Last week Audit Scotland found that delays in hiring staff and procuring an IT system to collect and administer the new devolved taxes have increased the risk that they will not be ‘’effectively managed’’ when they come into force.

According to the Scottish Parliament’s Official Report of proceedings, Ms Emberson told MSPs on November 26: “There has been a lot of progress but there is nothing negative that I need to report”.

She is due to return to give further evidence to the committee on Wednesday following publication of the auditors’ report.

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Mr Rennie said: “The statement given by the boss of Revenue Scotland that there is nothing negative to report seems to jar with the worrying report from Audit Scotland issued only weeks later where they warned of delays.

“The independent Audit Scotland made clear that there were problems with procuring the IT system and delays in recruiting the staff needed to make the roll out a success. These are ongoing problems which it is likely senior management were aware about at the time of giving evidence to Holyrood Finance Committee.

“SNP ministers boasted about the efficiency of Revenue Scotland before it was even created. Now we discover it is over budget and behind schedule with only months left to put it right.

“To give such a glowing report to the committee only weeks before Audit Scotland published a damning report is astonishing.

“It may be that Eleanor Emberson has misled Parliament.”

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