Public and Commercial Services Union
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Anger over tax office closures
The confirmation of the closures across the UK could see up to 1,700 experienced and skilled staff forced out of a job and are part of HMRC’s plans to cut 25,000 jobs and close over 200 offices by 2011.
The union warned that the closure of the offices would severely reduce tax advice and support to the public and businesses, as well as undermining the ability of the department to collect tax revenue as the public deficit widens.
Over 20,000 jobs have already gone since 2006. 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 £11 billion of tax for 2008/09.
With over £130 billion worth of tax going uncollected, avoided or evaded, 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: "Access to tax advice in communities across the UK will be damaged by the confirmation of these closures, which will hit businesses and the public, as well as taking quality jobs out of local communities during a recession.
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.
"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."