Oh yes, the latest strategy to be adopted to stop carousel fraud is ingenious....
... don't give anyone a new VAT number.
In May, the wait was 6 weeks, in April 8 weeks and now (July) it's 10-12 weeks. The wait period applies to all registrations of course, so if you registered at the beginning of May you'll still be waiting now.
Of course, the longer the wait, the more people call to find out what is going on - so they've reduced the opening hours to 10am to 3pm... and the IVR system is great : 0845 7112 114 (number for Central London registrations). Option 1 and then Option 2 and you then get told all the staff are busy and to try again. No queue, just keep trying.
At one stroke, new VAT fraud for 3 months has been eliminated.
Chancellor Gordon Brown integrated Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to form HMRC to get efficiency... I hope this approach isn't adopted across government now he's Prime Minister.