As tax avoidance fills the headlines, 10,000 jobs to be cut at HMRC

Fifty-five thousand HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff are on strike today over plans to axe 10,000 jobs from the department.

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Fifty-five thousand HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff are on strike today over plans to axe 10,000 jobs from the department.

gary-cameronFollowing widespread media coverage last week of comedian Jimmy Carr’s tax affairs and Cameron’s subsequent denouncement of tax avoidance as “morally wrong”, the government are failing to tackle the problem by cutting staff that could mobilise a crackdown on tax avoidance.

These jobs cuts will be particularly damaging, considering Treasury secretary Danny Alexander said on Sunday that the ordinary person’s tax bill could be reduced by 2p in every pound if tax avoidance was reduced by a quarter.

Cutting tax avoidance however, will be impossible with a shortage of staff at HMRC.

Robert Monks, general secretary of the United Road Transport Union, said:

“For the current government to seek to justify job cuts among PCS members employed by HMRC at this time is nothing short of scandalous. When you have the current prime minister making such an issue of tax avoidance, the last thing that this country needs at this present moment in time is further job cuts at HMRC.”

Interestingly however, a YouGov poll showed the prime minister’s approval rating at minus 18 (38% say he is doing well, 56% say badly), the highest since the Budget three months ago.


See also:

So, Mr Cameron, are Tory boys Philip Green and Gary Barlow “morally wrong” as well? 21 Jun 2012

French leaders attack Cameron’s “red carpet” invite to tax exiles as Carr gets owned 19 Jun 2012

Osborne allows tax avoiders to get away with murder – while you pick up the tab 15 May 2012

Osborne, Barclays, the Cayman Islands and tax avoidance 17 Apr 2012


President of YouGov Peter Kellner said:

The prime minister’s condemnation of Jimmy Carr may well have done him some good.

However, data taken in reference to tax avoidance shows the government must take responsibility for evaders. Kellner continued:

Although a majority, 60%, think the rich have a moral duty to pay their fair share of tax and not use artificial tax avoidance schemes, a substantial minority, 36% think the tax avoiders have acted reasonably, on the grounds that ‘it’s the government’s job to pass stricter laws if they want the rich to pay more tax

So with the majority of the public expecting the government to crack down on tax avoidance, why aren’t they? Is there a connection here between wealthy tax avoiders (some of which are Tory donors) and the government’s refusal to make tackling it a priority?


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