Strategy & Operations » Governance » MPs question Homer’s ability to lead HMRC

A GROUP OF MPs issued stinging criticism of HMRC chief executive Lin Homer today for her “catastrophic leadership failure” when she was in charge of the UK’s border controls.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said it was “astounded” Homer (pictured) was promoted to her current post after her performance during five years spent running the UK Border Agency, which now faces a backlog of immigration cases.

In a scathing attack on Homer, the committee questioned her ability to effectively run HMRC; labelled the agency’s progress under her stewardship as “shocking” and claimed she “continues to try and evade responsibility for her failings”.

“It is shocking that after five years under Lin Homer’s leadership an organisation that was described at the beginning of the period as being ‘not fit for purpose’ should have improved its performance so little,” the MP’s said in a report.

“Given this background, we are astounded that Ms Homer has been promoted to become chief executive and permanent secretary at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and can therefore have little confidence in her ability to lead HMRC at what is a challenging time for that organisation,” the report added.

Homer, who left the Border Agency in 2010 to take up a role as permanent secretary at the Department for Transport before taking joining HMRC, has been the subject of repeated criticism from the Public Accounts Committee, to which she regularly reports. Most recently, its chair and Labour MP Margaret Hodge described HMRC’s level of customer service to taxpayers as “inadequate”.

Homer denied the allegations and said many of the problems occurred after she left the agency. “It is…wholly inaccurate and unfair to seek to ascribe responsibility to me for matters of concern that occurred long after I left the agency,” she wrote in a letter to the committee.

Exchequer secretary David Gauke backed Homer, adding: “Under Lin Homer’s leadership, HMRC has built on the good work already going on in the department, becoming increasingly effective at tackling evasion and avoidance, improving its customer service and delivering substantial efficiencies. She is a highly effective chief executive and the right person to lead HMRC.”