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1,700 jobs on the line as HMRC plan 130 office closures

1,700 jobs on the line as HMRC plan 130 office closures

HMRC confirmed last week that it plans to close 130 offices saying that the move is part of an ongoing programme designed to deliver a more efficient use of taxpayer money. This will be of little comfort to staff as it is believed that as many as 1,700 permanent positions are in danger.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are outraged at the plans, warning that the services delivered to contractors & freelancers, SMEs and the general public will be severely affected. Most contractor accountants are in agreement.

The government plans to close in excess of two hundred offices and shed as many as 25,000 jobs by 2011. The cuts will affect offices throughout the UK. Since 2006, 20,000 jobs have been lost in HMRC according to the PCS website.

The union is calling on the government to focus on tax revenues rather than saving money through office closures and redundancies.

The General Secretary of the PCS, Mark Serwotk, said that the amount of uncollected tax that has been written off has almost doubled in recent years. This has come at a time when HMRC staff, including inspectors and specialist units, have been let go. Accoding to Serwotk, the government should be paying more attention to lost revenues through offshore tax schemes and widespread tax evasion, rather than slashing jobs of the very people that could help reduce the public deficit.

In 2004, as many as 200,000 civil servants reportedly stayed in protest against the government’s proposed sweeping job cuts, in what amounted to the biggest ever civil service strike. Could we be set to see a similar scenario because of this latest announcement?

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Image: redundancy by jan_krutisch

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