Cameron and the anti avoidance zealots will be most distressed to learn that approximately 55,000 HMRC staff are going on strike over job cuts and "creeping privatisation". Sky Tyne and Wear are of the view that the strike has been inspired by Jimmy Carr (a rather daft idea, given that the vote was taken sometime before Carrgate).
Anyhoo, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members are protesting about plans to cut 10,000 HMRC posts by 2014/2015.
Ironically, according to the union, the strike is also being used as a warning against cutting resources futher; as PCS is of the view that the cuts increase the loss of tax via illegal tax evasion and via legal tax avoidance schemes.
The former point has validity, the second doesn't as tax avoidance is (by definiton) legal and legislation as to what is legal/illegal is the domain of the politicians not HMRC or PCS.
HMRC are quoted by the BBC:
"We are seeking dialogue with the PCS to address their concerns and will work to minimise any disruption to our customers.The strike means that phone calls in affected offices may well go unanswered ('cough'), it will be followed by other forms of action such as a ban on overtime.
In our 2010 spending review the government made £917m available to us to tackle avoidance, evasion and fraud. This is being used to increase our tax take from compliance work by £7bn a year in 2014/15 which we are on target to do."
Tax does have to be taxing.
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