Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

My understanding is that “half a dozen” companies will be quizzed next week into their tax deals with HM Revenue and Customs.

Sir Andrew Park, a former judge, has been approached (but not quite appointed) to investigate the agreements that might have benefited companies including Vodafone and Goldman Sachs.

The news comes ahead of a report next Tuesday by the Public Accounts Committee of MPs which will raise serious concerns about the so-called “sweetheart deals”.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the PAC, said she couldn’t comment on the report yet but said:

“We have serious, serious concerns about this whole issue because there is a lot of taxpayers’ money at stake.”

Dave Hartnett, the most senior tax official, earlier this year admitted mistakes in Read more

Uwe Corsepius, EU Council’s secretary general

UPDATE: According to a British official, the UK has today been invited to participate in the treaty negotiations, a significant shift that will allow London to weigh in on some of the most sensitive issues to be discussed, including whether EU institutions will enforce the new pact.

Senior officials from European national finance ministries chatted last night in the first informal negotiations on the highly-touted new intergovernmental treaty to govern the region’s economic policy, though diplomats say little substance was discussed.

Ahead of the talks, however, Uwe Corsepius, the new secretary general of the European Council, sent out a four-page letter to negotiators in an attempt to set a roadmap for how the talks will proceed – and we at Brussels Blog got our mitts on it.

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Nick Clegg yesterday made a very public display of engagement with business over Europe as the deputy prime minister convened a business breakfast with Business For New Europe, a pro-single market group. Mr Clegg, flanked by Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, Chris Huhne David Laws, wanted to get the message across that he had dusted himself down and was ready to begin work on rebuilding relations on the continent after a bruising week for Britain.

But beyond the photo shoot and crafted media message lines, was a second, more exclusive meeting between Mr Clegg and the director-generals of key lobby groups. This meeting wasn’t briefed out but was apparently a quite detailed debate about tactics going forward.

“We pooled intelligence and talked about how big inward investors want

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One could be forgiven for wondering if the “entente cordiale” has become the “entente vitriole” in the last few days.

Earlier today the governor of the Bank of France suggested that France did not deserve a downgrade by ratings agencies; at least not before the UK. Read more