According to Theresa May austerity has ended. According to Philip Hammond it has not. I know who I believe. And it is not the Prime Minister. The madness of the cuts programme is ongoing. According to the TUC this morning:
Protecting our borders from illegal goods is the responsibility of both UK Border Force and HMRC, but they’ve both suffered under the government’s austerity agenda.
This means there are huge areas of our coastline that aren’t protected right now – and we haven’t even left the EU yet.
There are also plans to slash HMRC’s operations to just 13 regional centres and five specialist sites, leaving most ports and airports in the UK miles from the nearest HMRC office.
There will be no offices in Scotland outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh, even though the Scottish mainland has over 6,000 miles of coastline.
Offices in Southampton and Ipswich are also set to close, while the entire South West will be covered by one office in Bristol.
This won’t just mean job losses, but the loss of years of experience at a time when we might need up to 5,000 extra people to cope with Brexit.
That’s why it’s complete madness for HMRC to be pressing ahead with office closures just a few months before Brexit day on 29 March 2019.
The TUC's logic is impeccable. If only the government's was. These office closures were madness before Brexit. They are insanity now.