Margaret Hodge asked how the government could justify giving prestigious positions to those who do not contribute their share of tax. It’s a good point, but has she missed a bigger one? [Image: ANL/Rex Shutterstock.]

Government departments in the UK don’t have directors. Businesses do.

Government departments have secretaries – permanent secretaries, private secretaries, under-secretaries, the list seems endless sometimes – but they don’t have directors.

So the naming of Doug Gurr as a non-executive director of the DWP should surely ring alarm bells.

Only yesterday we heard Iain Duncan Smith has been consulting on the possibility of privatising at least one DWP service.

Has he been consulting on the privatisation of the whole department?

The Labour MP and tax campaigner Margaret Hodge has described as “disgusting” a plan to give an executive of online retailer Amazon, one of the companies at the centre of an intensifying row over taxes, a directorship at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Hodge was responding to the news, first revealed by Sky News, that Amazon’s head of Chinese operations, Doug Gurr, is to become a non-executive director of the DWP. The DWP said it would issue a statement, which was not available at the time of publication. Amazon declined to comment.

Hodge said: “If people are not putting their proper share into the pot, how can government ever justify giving them prestigious positions?”

Amazon’s UK business paid just £11.9m in tax in 2014, even though its Luxembourg unit took £5.3bn from internet sales in the UK.

Source: DWP post for Amazon boss is ‘disgusting’, says Margaret Hodge | Business | The Guardian

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