Is there any real new investment in HMRC? I’m not convinced

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This press release was issued by the Association for Revenue & Customs, the union that represents the tope grade of staff at HMRC this afternoon:

ARC President Tony Wallace welcomed the Chancellors announcement this afternoon to re-invest three quarters of a billion pounds in HMRC to further tackle avoidance and evasion.

Wallace said:

“Since 2010 ARC has consistently made the case that an investment in the work of HMRC and ARC members will yield a significant dividend for the country.

“In 2013 our budget submission suggested an investment of £312m could yield as much as £8.2bn. In June this year we met with David Gauke, Financial Secretary to The Treasury, and called for £750m to deliver on the Conservative Government’s pledge to deliver an additional £5bn from tax avoidance. We are delighted that the Chancellor has accepted our case”

“ARC has built a strong consensus among those who share our view. Senior figures from the CBI employers group, the accountancy profession (ACCA), Tax Justice Network and Tax Research UK all agree that the collection of tax is arguably the most important business of Government. Without it, there is no defence, no rule of law and no National Health Service.

“The next step is to ensure that the Spending Review does not take away what the budget has provided — a better resourced HMRC, more capable of delivering on its job of reducing the tax gap”

I was happy to join with ARC in calling for more investment in HMRC.

I regret to say that I am already not convinced of Osborne's commitment.

The investment in HMRC over the next 5 years is actually no more than £270 million a year (page 74 here). That's not how it was projected to parliament. And given that this is against a background of ongoing cuts of 5% per annum in the HMRC budget (or £250 million or so a year) there is almost no real investment at all.

I think ARC are aware of that from the wording of their press release. Take it that ARC and I, at least, don't really believe what ARC's boss is saying.