The jobs of up to 1,700 staff at HM Revenue & Customs are in danger after
talks were held confirming the closure of 130 tax offices.
The PCS reacted angrily to the confirmation of the closures – part of HMRC’s
plans to cut 25,000 jobs and close more than 200 offices by 2011 – warning tax
advice and support to the public and businesses would be severely reduced.
The cuts affect offices across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In previous wrangles over job cuts and efficiency drives, the PCS has taken
industrial action to protect its members.
“Over 20,000 jobs have already gone since 2006,” the PCS said on its website.
“Over the same time the percentage of uncollected tax written off as
‘doubtful to be collected’ has risen from 23% in 2006 to 40% in 2009, meaning
that HMRC have effectively written off £11bn of tax for 2008/09.”
The union urged HMRC and the government to focus on closing the tax gap
rather than focusing on slashing jobs and closing offices.
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “It is no coincidence
that as HMRC staff have been cut, the amount of uncollected tax written off as
doubtful has nearly doubled. There is over £130 billion which is uncollected,
evaded and avoided which could go towards closing the public deficit.
“Closing offices and slashing jobs makes no economic sense and will do
nothing to help the recovery. Rather than cuts the government should be
investing to recoup the lost billions in tax.”
HMRC said: “HMRC’s change programme to make sure that the department has the
right number of people, with the right skills in the right places began in
November 2006 and the decisions announced yesterday were made after an
exhaustive regional review which ended in December 2008.
“By bringing staff together in larger teams and closing smaller offices HMRC
will be able to deliver a better service to customers while delivering better
value for money.”
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
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