A former HMRC tax inspector has successfully won a payout from his old employers for time wasting after a meeting with them was disrupted for more than an hour by a fire drill.
Now Gary Brothers, who set up Harrogate-based Independent taxation and Forensic Services LLP 12 months ago, is donating the money to the victims of last month’s Albert Street blaze.
Mr Brothers, who worked for HMRC for 16 years, had signed into the Leeds building when the fire alarm sounded. During the evacuation – which was pre-planned – he was simply ignored and left outside on the street for more than an hour.
Following the incident, Mr Brothers wrote to the HMRC to express his concerns that visitors were given little consideration in their evacuation procedure, and asking for them to reimburse him the hourly fee he charges clients.
As a gesture of goodwill, HMRC chose to award Mr Brothers £50 “for the worry and distress caused”, as well as reviewing fire drill procedures to ensure appropriate measures are taken to ensure visitors’ safety.
He has since donated the money to a fund set up to support the 13 families left homeless by fire on Albert Street – just a stone’s throw away from the Independent Tax offices.
Mr Brothers said:
“I was a little alarmed by the procedure, or lack of, when I visited the Castle House offices.
“I was also miffed that this was an hour of my time that could have been better used working for my clients.
“However, I am satisfied that HMRC have re-evaluated their considerations and that no such instances should reoccur.
Mr Brothers added:
“I thought it particularly appropriate that this ‘gesture of goodwill’ be used as such, and have donated it to help those who have been affected by the Albert Street fire.”