The business heroes of the crisis, part III

Tomorrow's Business

Our search for the business folk who showed true leadership in their company (and country) hours of need continues.

Probably not troubling the scorers is John Hargreaves at Matalan, who the FT reports is suing PwC for what he claims is bad tax advice.

Hargreaves – family fortune of £550 million – is perfectly entitled to sue his advisers if he feels they let him down.

And presumably he and his PR folk can’t control the timing of the court case.

Still, it may not be the best time to be the protagonist in a tale that includes the following words – Monaco, tax haven – and the quote that Mr Hargreaves is “cautious and risk-averse in relation to tax matters”.

You know what they mean, and you know how it sounds.

The Guardian headline has the Matalan founder suing PwC for “ineffective tax avoidance advice”.

Tax avoidance, we should be clear, is perfectly legal. But in the public mind it sounds little different from tax evasion.

It seems perfectly possible to me that Mr Hargreaves a) wins his case against PwC and b) comes to regret having filed it.

Matalan has received tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer support related to Covid. It’s not a great look, is it?

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