Nope, this is not a joke. The Department for Transport is currently consulting on allowing speed limit exemptions to be extended to services beyond the police, fire and ambulance services. There are a number of contenders vying for a place on the list: bomb disposal units, vehicles carrying organs for transplant, coastguard vehicles, and er... HMRC.
Of course, it's unlikely that it's your common or garden income tax inspector that wants the right to storm it down the M3. HMRC also carries out extensive undercover operations that combat serious crime such as drug importation or large-scale smuggling of fake goods.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond says, 'It is only right that we look at allowing other services whose duties can mean the difference between life and death to exceed the speed limit when responding to emergencies.'
The story has prompted widespread hilarity across the web. On Twitter, Larry Brangwyn writes: 'HMRC want to break the speed limit now? I'm surprised they know the difference between 30 and 60 anyway!', while 'Geiger' on the Digital Spy forum quips, 'Hurry up and put your foot down. Jimmy Carr's about to order from Amazon on his Apple iPad while drinking a Starbucks coffee. We must stop this!'
Perhaps HMRC could use it's newfound speeding capabilities to ensure the prompt delivery of emergency tax rebates too? MT finds this highly unlikely...