We've blogged the escalating VAT fraud crisis several times (eg see here and here). Whereas the Chancellor's most recent estimate of losses is still £1.1-£1.9 bn pa, the last trade figures we analysed suggested losses could now be running at £30bn pa.
Now a European taskforce has looked at the situation across the EU and apparently concluded that Britain has "a unique problem". They estimate that in the 12 months to June, we lost £8.4bn- much higher than Brown's figures, and not inconsistent with our extrapolation for the current year.
HMT have said they "don't recognise the figure" and have refused to comment further before they produce their own updated figure in the Pre-Budget Report in December.
But the bottom line remains the same: for all his complex rules and micro-management, this Chancellor has presided over a catastrophic breakdown in the government's ability to collect taxes efficiently and securely.