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Sir Muir and form UEA4/5

Reader Matthu has got hold of some tantalising new information about the financial arrangements surrounding the Russell Inquiry. UEA have released to him copies of the claims for money made by Russell and Boulton. UEA claims of this type are made on form 4/5, the former covering occasional employees and the latter self-employed contractors. It appears that this is a single form though.

Unfortunately, only page 2 of Boulton and Russell's claims have been supplied, so it is not clear whether they have claimed as temps or as self-employed contractors. However, Matthu's request covered all financial source documents, so unless the university has "overlooked" any attached invoices, it looks as though they were temps. Matthu has queried this aspect with the university to make sure.

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Reader Comments (30)

Boulton's form says A5 which is classed as self-employed. How can he be if he is already employed by Edinburgh? Not sure why he isn't counted as a casual employee of UEA. Russell's is different, so presumably the arrangements for him were different. I can't believe either of them don't pay tax, so surely there should be some deduction recorded somewhere?

Every time I see that the amount Russell was paid I have to go and take three deep breaths and count to 40,000- or should that be 235,000?

Jun 24, 2011 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

"the amount Russell was paid"

Different planet, I'm afraid. Which is why the ruling class are so surprised when caught out over their expense claims for duck houses and moat cleaning. To them, it's pin money.

Jun 24, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Fro my own experiences working as a self-employed contractor:

If he is self-employed then, presumably, he undertakes to satisfy HMRC about tax and NI.

And any reputable employer will demand that they have that explicitly written into the contract to make sure that there is no liability on them. Sight of the contract would make that clear ...if there is one??

Or the self-employed person can use a third party as an 'umbrella company to do all that stuff for him.

In which case the payment should be made to the umbrella company. not direct to the individual.

If these guys were working without a contract and leaving their tax status 'unclear' it suggests to me that either they are unfamiliar with the rules applying to mere mortals (and Sir Russell, being a senior civil servant bloody well ought to know and abide by them!) or they chose to ignore them.

Neither of these seems to be a recommendation for great minds to carry out a full and impartial inquiry. Rather a pair of chancers happy to take advantage (and the loot) from an inept and incompetent client.

It is not difficult to sign a contract and do the accountancy as per normal practice. It is probably harder to do it wrong than right.

Jun 24, 2011 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'so it is not clear whether they have claimed as temps or as self-employed contractors.'

The difference of course could well be significant for what rules should be in place and what information should be available . So it not a small point .

Jun 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

When I add up the sub-totals on the Boulton payment claim form I don't get the grand total listed. Is there some reason the expenses would have been ignored?

Jun 24, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterVarco

Re: Latimer

If he is self-employed then, presumably, he undertakes to satisfy HMRC about tax and NI.

And any reputable employer will demand that they have that explicitly written into the contract to make sure that there is no liability on them.

I am self employed and I undertake work for various companies. Sometimes it is directly with the company and at other times it is via an agency.

One important principle with all the contracts is the degree of control the company has over me. If it has too much control then the Inland Revenue will consider me to be a employee. This why a contract between a company and a contractor will never have any terms in it regarding how the contractor pays his taxes. This is too much control and would effectively put the contractor as an employee.

If some company tried to put any such clause or even a hint of such a clause into my contract I would not agree to it under any circumstances. The only people who can determine how, when and how much tax I pay are the Inland Revenue and myself.

Jun 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind

Skullduggery or just plain old incompetence?

The latter, I think. Re Latimer Adler's 'bloody well ought to know' the rules for casual work, yes, of course, but as a senior civul servant he would usually do his stuff ( whatever that might be) and receive his pay packet nett of tax and deductions all properly worked out by some computer, and so would be unfamiliar with the details of what he was required to do when the UEA job blew up because he was a senior civil servant.

The half cynical mind I have left thinks that Sir MR will have become a senior civil servant by virtue of a devious nature and a simulation of lofty unconcern over trivialities, rather than because he is a chancer. Deviousness, I guess, will have made him a good choice to pronounce that the black of UEA behaviour was the white of the wash. Unconcern over trivialities and ignorance of them may, I guess, have lead to mistakes over the formalities of the employment. So a small mistake, old boy, all come out in the wash!

And after the wash, the truth, I expect, will turn out to be sad and trivial rather than shocking.

Jun 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Having been self-employed for the last few years, I felt it to be prudent to hire an accountant to handle my financial affairs, as I am fully cognisant of the fact that the Revenue do not see ignorance of the law, if one should happen to break any laws through ignorance of that law, as any kind of mitigating circumstance. I assumed every sentient being who has anything to do with earning a living must know this and therefore I cannot see any possible skulduggery as 'an innocent mistake', 'cockup, or anything similar. The Revenue is very firm about this and makes it extraordinarily clear.
Call the dealings in question what you will - considering the positions, the experience and the supposed intelligence of those stellar individuals under the microscope, I suspect chicanery of the most egregious kind.
I'm with Latimer on this one.

Jun 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Boulton and or Russell could be temporary workers (contract of service) or self employed (contract for service).

If they where temporary workers then the UEA would have employee numbers for them and would pay their national insurance and PAYE tax. This is highly unlikely.

If they where self employed then this could take several different forms and what form it took is crucial.
1. Umbrella Company.
The umbrella company would have paid their NIC and PAYE and there would have to be contracts between the umbrella company and the UEA. All payments for services would have been to the umbrella company.
2. Limited Company
The limited company would have made its own arrangements on how to pay them. A contract would exist between the limited company and the UEA. All payments for services would have been made to the limited company. It is also probable that the limited company would be wholly or majority owned by the individuals concerned
3. Self employed person.
The contract would be between the UEA and the individual. Payments would be directly to the individual. The individual would pay their tax and NI by filling in the SA103 supplemental form and sending it in with their self assessment.

Jun 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Boulton is not employed by the University of Edinburgh. He is a Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow, which seems to mean that he is not on their payroll, but can use their facilities and prestige. These disclosure confirm that Russell and Boulton were self employed casual contractors. I do not think it affects the issue of disclosure which remains that the Aarhus Article 5(1)(a) requires public authorities to POSSES and update environmental information relevant to their functions. This Article is not properly translated into the Regulations but is still the law. This is where some pro bono advice is needed.

The more that gets disclosed the murkier this climate change business looks. The science is utterly irrelevant. You would not by a second hand car off these folks let alone a global energy policy.

Jun 24, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

Dob them into The Revenue?

Jun 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Re Adam Gallon

Good idea. One of Al Capone's pistols just sold for £67,000. Wonder how much a can of Russell or Boulton whitewash would go for?

Jun 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

@terry s

'This why a contract between a company and a contractor will never have any terms in it regarding how the contractor pays his taxes'

Probably not specifying exactly how, but it often has a clause saying that the contractor..and not the employer is liable for settling all the taxes due (PAYE, NI etc etc). This means that the emloyer doesn't have to worry about administering them on the contractor's behalf. He pays the contractor the gross fee and the contractor sorts out all the rest.

Maybe your contracts are different, but I've worked a few like that.

Jun 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

This seems to be mountains out of mole hills. As TerryS suggests the Muir Russel team were almost certainly paid as self employed persons, there would be no resaon for them to be made temporary staff members of UEA.

I have frequently worked in this manner for a variety of organisations including Universities, in most (but not all cases) the employer has made it clear in the contract that I was responsible for any NI and Tax payments. I have also worked in this capacity when also undertaking full time employemnt, with the agreement of my employer and working in my own time.

In this case I think it really is a case of "nothing to see here"

Jun 24, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

It's not the pounds, dearies. It's all the foolish, foolish pennies.

Jun 24, 2011 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I think what is different here, Arthur, is that the University does not consider that there ever was a contractual relationship with Sir Muir Russell.

Jun 24, 2011 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Watt, matthu, when the paper says either "Agreed fee for ...." etc or "A greed fee for ... ". In my simplistic way, I thought that a job with an agreed fee comprised a contract. Are you Brits different?

Jun 24, 2011 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

No ... I am simply hoping my gentle prompting may cause the University to conclude that actually in the background there really was a contractual relationship in place after all.

The University has apparently used the lack of any contractual relationship to block FOI requests.

Jun 24, 2011 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

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This Hotline is open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday, and weekends 8.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Please note this line is closed on bank holidays.

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Jun 24, 2011 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Re: latimer

Probably not specifying exactly how, but it often has a clause saying that the contractor..and not the employer is liable for settling all the taxes due (PAYE, NI etc etc).

I am somewhat surprised at this. As far as I was aware, the Inland Revenue doesn't care what contracts or assignments you (or any other entity) has with regards to tax liability. If they determine that you (or someone else) owes them tax then it is you (or whomever they determine) that has to pay it.
Contracts will often say that A should not be considered an employee of B, but that is a whole world of difference (and isn't binding) from saying B is liable for the tax. It is because of this inability to assign tax liability, independent of the Inland Revenue, that nearly all independent contractors have to use a limited company to work. Consider the following 2 scenarios:

1. Company A hires Person B as self employed person to perform task and pays them 50K
2. Company A hires company C to provide person B to perform task and pays company C 50k

Inland revenue determines that person B was actually employee.

In Scenario 1 Company A is liable for all the NI payments (and perhaps even some of the tax) and and may have to further compensate person B for any sick days and/or holidays while they were working for A.
In Scenario 2 Company A has no further liability. Company C has all the liability.

This is why businesses only hire contractors via limited companies.

Jun 24, 2011 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@terry s

You are forgetting Employers NI.

Jun 24, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Jun 24, 2011 at 2:22 PM | Geoff Sherrington
It is my understanding that you are correct. A contract does not have to be written. If a fee was agreed for the provision of a service, there was a contract. I'm perplexed how the UEA can claim otherwise.

Jun 24, 2011 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Re: latimer

> You are forgetting Employers NI.

Nope I covered that:

In Scenario 1 Company A is liable for all the NI payments

Jun 24, 2011 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

This is not a question of tax liability - there is no reason to suspect that tax has not been
declared and I don't think we should concern ourselves about that.

What should concern us is UEA's reluctance to admit that there was ever a contractual agreement. It is UEA's stated understanding that this was a 'Public Appointment' - but they have offered no evidence of this fact.

Neither has it been tested whether this alters the contractual relationship in any way, particularly when all of the evidence that has been offered suggests otherwise.

Jun 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

"Son, we don't take a dump around here without a 127J/12..."

Jun 24, 2011 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo


A willing buyer, a willing seller, a benefit to both Parties. Two Parties named on the piece of paper. Past correspondence shows that each appeared willing. Ditto benefits. Too simple?

Jun 25, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Jun 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM | matthu
Jun 25, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Geoff Sherrington


These payments were made during Tax Year ending 5 April 2011 for services rendered by one party to another party. Both parties are apparently satisfied with the outcome.

People who have received income during the period 6 April 2010 to 5 April 2011 have until the end of January 2012 to declare it to HMRC.

I am sure Boulton and Muir Russell are enjoying the spoils of their endeavours and probably having a quiet chuckle at all this hoohaa.

Jun 25, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Brownedoff - yep - you're probably right - but there just may be the odd member of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs who is of a sceptical persuasion, who might read the above and make it their business to see that any tax/NI due is paid in the fullness of time....

Jun 25, 2011 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

David Holland:

Your comment at 12:33 clearly states that Professor Boulton is not an employee of U of Edinburgh.
Isn't it strange then that the contract the U of E signed with ICCER has the following clause:

2.2 The Client acknowledges that the Consultant is an employee of the University and as such is subject to the terms and conditions of his/her employment, which the Client acknowledges will take precedence over any obligations the Consultant may have to the Client under this agreement.

Also, are you aware of the reason for introdiucing a new contract signed on 20 May 2010 despite the existence of an earlier contract signed on 23 February 2010 all of whose terms and conditions remain unchanged?

Jun 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Sorry, David. My mistake: the contract referred to above relates only to Peter Clarke.

Jun 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

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