Exaro News Archive Ed Lester to resign as head of Student Loans...

Ed Lester to resign as head of Student Loans Company

-

Ed Lester to resign as head of Student Loans Company

Ed Lester to resign as head of Student Loans CompanySLC chief executive steps down following furore over working ‘off payroll’

By David Hencke and Alex Varley-Winter | 25 May 2012

Ed Lester is to stand down as chief executive of the Student Loans Company, Exaro can reveal. It follows the furore over how the senior public official was paid through his personal-service company – with no tax deducted at source.

A spokeswoman for the Student Loans Company (SLC) confirmed that Lester has decided to leave when his contract runs out next January.

The SLC is advertising for a new chief executive on what it describes as an “attractive salary”. The spokeswoman said: “It will be at the same salary as it is now.” Lester is paid £182,000 a year, plus expenses.

The UK government-owned body has already drawn up an advertisement for the position, saying: “The SLC is seeking a visionary and experienced leader as its next chief executive. Politically adept, and an outstanding manager and communicator, this person will bring a successful track-record of leadership in a complex customer-facing environment.”

The spokeswoman said that Lester did not want to comment on his decision to leave the SLC. According to the SLC, Lester’s decision is unrelated to his tax affairs.

On Wednesday, the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, thanked Exaro in Parliament for exposing the scandal of civil servants being paid ‘off payroll’.

He was announcing to MPs the results of a review by the UK Treasury into the practice, showing that 2,400 senior civil servants were avoiding millions of pounds in tax by working in this way. More than 20 senior public officials have worked ‘off payroll’ and avoided paying tax at source for more than ten years.

Alexander ordered the review immediately after an investigation by Exaro, together with BBC2’s Newsnight, revealed in February that the SLC was paying Lester without deducting tax or employee’s national insuranceunder concessions granted by HM Revenue & Customs, described in Whitehall memo as a “tax efficient” arrangement.

The arrangement allowed Lester to choose how much income he would draw from his personal-service company, and so how much tax he would pay. The SLC also avoided paying employer’s national insurance.

Civil servants can save themselves tens of thousands of pounds a year in tax by routing their pay through personal-service companies. One tax specialist calculated that Lester was able to save more than £26,000 a year in tax.

The SLC hastily hired Lester in May 2010 following the fiasco the previous autumn that led to 241,000 students not receiving their loan payments on time.

He was appointed as interim chief executive until January 2011, when he was confirmed in “permanent” post with a further two-year contract.

But Lester was forced to go on the SLC payroll, dated back to the day when Exaro broke the story. He later closed down his personal-service company.

In addition, two senior officials at the Office for Nuclear Regulation who were paid ‘off payroll’, Paul Brown and Jon Seddon, had their contracts terminated.

Lester’s departure comes as Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the House of Commons public accounts committee, criticised how HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) allowed people with personal-service companies to hold full-time jobs in government.

She said: “We were alarmed at reports that [HMRC] had advised that the use of [personal-service] companies to avoid tax could ever be appropriate for full-time employees of public bodies.” It “must have a clear and consistent approach to providing advice on such matters.”

She warned: “We expect to return to this issue once the review is concluded.”

Related Stories

Sarah Davies
Sarah Davieshttps://www.exaronews.com/
Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest news

Man shot in the head on his way home from work, then victimized by Monroe County Sheriffs

In this episode Shawn Ryan sits down with Don Bradley A.K.A. Head Shot Don, who is a former Green...

Huge spike in coronavirus infections and deaths

There was a huge spike in confirmed coronavirus infections today, along with a significant spike in deaths. Total Confirmed Cases:...

Naked guy ambushes NYPD cop, shooting him in the chest

A 29-year-old man waited naked in the hallway of a housing complex in Harlem to ambush a cop, standing...

Six-year-old kids armed and trained to fight Mexican drug cartels

A child militia in Mexico’s southwestern state of Guerrero is training boys, some as young as 6, to serve...

Canadians Targeted in Debit Card Fraud, Check Your Bank Statements

A number of Canadians have been affected by debit card fraud in the past 30-days despite never having used...

Marshall County Man Convicted of Federal Cyberstalking and Gun Crime

A Marshall County man was convicted Thursday afternoon of cyberstalking as well as a federal gun violation following a...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you