Opinion Former Article

PCS: Cuts must stop after MPs savage tax service

PCS wants the government to immediately halt the axing of thousands of jobs in Revenue and Customs after a committee of MPs branded the department's service to the public "unacceptable".

The treasury committee report into the 'Administration and effectiveness of HMRC' is published tomorrow (Saturday 30 July).

The 13 MPs on the committee conclude that further cuts to staffing and resources make little sense.

HMRC has axed 30,000 jobs since 2005 and another 10,000 posts are earmarked to go.

The department has been employing thousands of people on short term contracts and paying staff to work overtime in an attempt to mask the impact of job cuts.

In call centres, where HMRC has invested in 1,000 additional staff, the numbers of calls answered has increased from 44% to 71%.

Staff morale in the department has been damaged over a number of years by poor management and a pervading culture of 'command and control'.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Once again we see the evidence laid bare before us that staff cuts damage services.

"The unanimity of evidence in the report confirms that the cuts program is destroying HMRC's effectiveness to deliver even the basic services required to support tax payers and revenues in the UK.

"PCS calls on the department and government to immediately halt any further cuts in HMRC.

"Reducing the workforce in a department which is already unable to cope with its workload is folly, not only for the services to the ordinary tax payer, but also in preventing the department from collecting the billions of pounds in tax due to the treasury. Money that could fund an alternative economic strategy."

ENDS

Notes

- For information and interview requests please contact Miles Barter, who is standing in this week for PCS national press officer Richard Simcox, on 020 7801 2744. Alternative contacts for this HMRC story - John Coote 07788 118895, Simon Boniface 07718 364338, Lorna Merry 07792 864906.

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union 

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