Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/18/hmrc_ambition/

HMRC blows £1.4m on two-word slogan

Whalesong and joss-sticks spawn 'HMRC Ambition'

By Lester Haines

Posted in Policy, 18th February 2008 11:13 GMT

Her Maj's Revenue and Customs apparently blew nearly £1.4m in 2006 while brainstorming its way to a new slogan which simply reads "HMRC Ambition".

According to the Evening Standard, three rebranding meetings were required to come up with the inspirational rebrand, during which HMRC's top brains rejected a "pink and fluffy" logo saying "Thank You" to those who'd coughed their taxes and a steel grey "Elite Enforcement" option telling tax dodgers they would be mercilessly "hunted down".

HMRC Ambition quickly appeared on internal agency documents, backed by the obligatory inspirational mission statement to staff.

HMRC's spendthrift ways were revealed in a reply to a written parliamentary question from the Liberal Democrats, which confirmed the three whalesong and joss-stick-driven get-togethers cost £1.34m.

Lib Dem spokesman Danny Alexander duly thundered: "People will be astonished that hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money was spent on this bureaucratic exercise. After the lost data debacle, I can think of lots of other words other than 'pink and fluffy' or 'ambition' for the HMRC."

An HMRC spokesman offered: "If you improve the quality and leadership in the department it benefits everyone from people who claim tax credits to the Government." ®