Through a voluntary exit scheme, HMRC is planning to cut nearly 3,000 jobs across the UK, leaving only 1,000 jobs safe. Those at risk include four Welsh offices, 240 jobs in Northern Ireland, 80 in Devon and 150 in Scotland. While there is no indication of offices closing soon, staff were told their offices were not included in HMRC’s long-term plans.
The reason for these job cuts is the result of customers taking advantage of HMRC’s online services. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are opposing the plans and will use the 90-day redundancy scheme to re-evaluate budgets and address any alternatives. They've already stressed that staff shortages have caused problems within HMRC.
34,000 jobs have been cut since 2005 due to Government budgets and a further 10,000 jobs are to be dropped by 2015. HMRC states the latest planned job cuts concern fixed-contract workers only, not permanent staff.
It could be viewed that staff shortages will only add to the increasing issue of HMRC failing to chase business debt, which has been blamed on the rise of so called “Zombie Companies”. It is important that HMRC recognises companies that can and should be saved against those that, quite frankly, should not be allowed to continue. Companies that haven’t paid their taxes end up taking business away from companies that HAVE paid their taxes. As such, HMRC need to look at companies that are on extended time to pay schemes and be ready to take action at the end of the period. The introduction of Real Time Information for PAYE returns should make this task easier and will stop companies from hiding their liabilities.