Wednesday 1 February 2012
An urgent review into claims of tax avoidance by top civil servants has been ordered by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, after a BBC Newsnight investigation.
The chief executive of the Student Loans Company (SLC), Ed Lester, has received his £182,000 pay package without deductions for tax or National Insurance.
The arrangement was agreed by the tax authorities and potentially saved Mr Lester tens of thousands of pounds.
Richard Bacon MP, who sits on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, described the figures as "outrageous".
The SLC said it had "followed all government guidelines" on remuneration, but as Richard Watson reports, how does such tax avoidance sit with the coalition's stated aims to tackle tax avoidance and unfairness? We'll also be discussing the issue with Jeremy in the studio.
Also on tonight's programme, Pakistan's foreign minister says her country has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan, in response to a leaked secret Nato report on Islamabad's links to the Afghan Taliban.
Speaking alongside her Afghan counterpart in Kabul, Hina Rabbani Khar said allegations in the report were "old wine in an even older bottle".
The report says the Taliban are helped by Pakistani security services.
Tonight, our Diplomatic and Defence editor Mark Urban investigates how much support the insurgents have from the Afghan people and outside forces, and where their campaign is headed.
And, yesterday the removal of Fred Goodwin's knighthood was lauded widely, but today it has been described as "anti-business hysteria" by the Institute of Directors.
They were joined by ex-Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, who said the decision appeared to have been taken "on a whim", as Mr Goodwin was not the only banker to cause problems.
David Grossman asks if Fred the Shred has been made a scapegoat for the wider failings of the financial industry?