HMRC: time for protests

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It’s good to note that PCS, the union for most staff at /HM Revenue & Customs, is joining in tax protests today:

War on Want and the Jubilee Debt Campaign will join with campaigners from PCS in a rally against reductions in HMRC resources.

The protest will come on the eve of a day of mass action organised by the group UK Uncut, focused on the stores of communications giant Vodafone and Sir Philip Green's Arcadia, such as Topshop, over allegations of tax dodges.

War on Want, JDC and PCS say the poorest and most vulnerable people are being made to pay for an unsustainable and irresponsible financial system. They claim that there is a viable alternative to spending cuts.

The demonstration will take place outside the HMRC HQ to oppose UK government plans that would axe a further 13,000 jobs in HMRC on top of the 30,000 that have gone since 2005 and the closure of around 200 offices.

  • What? Activists with 'Tax not cuts' model bomb will demonstrate against cuts in HMRC jobs and offices
  • Who? The anti-poverty charities War on Want and Jubilee Debt Campaign with PCS union
  • When? 1pm, Friday 17 December 2010
  • Where? Headquarters of HM Revenue and Customs, 100 Parliament Street, Westminster, London SW1A 2BQ

These jobs are being shed at a time when the British economy is losing £120 billion a year through tax dodging, in the form of uncollected tax, illegal tax evasion and abuse of tax loopholes.

Again, I’m delighted to see my work being put to such good use.

And if you doubt that there’s an issue at HM Revenue & Customs note this from the BBC:

A staff survey at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed a startling lack of faith in its senior management.

Only 9% of staff believed that change at HMRC was usually for the better; only 11% agreed that change was well managed; and only 11% had confidence in decisions made by senior managers.

The official survey, organised by the Cabinet Office, obtained 51,266 replies from staff - a 69% response rate.

A Revenue spokeswoman said the results were "really disappointing".

Overall staff "engagement" was judged to be worse than when measured in a similar survey last year and was worse than this year's result for the civil service as a whole.

The message is simple: you can’t run an effective tax system whist tearing it to shreds through cuts. And to run an effective tax system you need people in charge of it who believe in the virtues of tax. Right now that seems untrue of the board of HM Revenue & Customs and its senior directors and it certainly seems untrue of our politicians.

Which is why the tax gap is likely to get worse, not better, at least in proportionate terms.