HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


As we enter the SOBER* decade, HMRC will not be immune from the cuts announced by George Osborne.

According to Accountancy Age HMRC's budget of £3.5BN in 2010/2011 will fall to £3.2BN by 2014/15, with a loss of around 13,000 jobs. Some of the media claim this is a 15% cut, but my calculator comes up with less than 10%.

Please could someone enlighten me as to where the 15% comes from?

To further confuse matters, some sections of the media talk of 25% efficiency savings (on top of the 15%) to be achieved by improving IT contracts etc.

Does anyone actually have a clue as to what the fark is going on?

Anyhoo, 10%, 15% or 25%, unsurprisingly the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is none too happy, and have warned that there will be strikes.

Suffice to say, the quality of "customer" (ie taxpayer) service is bound to decline further.

However, the good news for HMRC staff is that Lesley Strathie is "batting on their side". The Guardian has leaked a letter that she has sent to staff:

"I know how tough this autumn has been for all of us; not least because of the enormous scrutiny we've been under recently in relation to PAYE.

We now have a lot more clarity about what the future holds for us and I want to put on record how much I, and all my ExCom colleagues, appreciate your dedication and hard work



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  1. I think you will find the 15% bit comes from the chancellor himself, that is the figure he announced in the statement.

    With regards to the PCS, it is funny how they jump into action when faced with loosing members but do fuck all when it comes to working conditions of HMRC staff. Maybe Mr Serwotka is worrying that fewer members may affect his large salary.

    As for Strathie, well covering her own arse again in my books. Maybe she is worrying that if she looses more staff and the service gets even worse she may have to bluff her way through another committee meeting with MP’s.


    Around page 46.

  3. Point 2.138 in the above link should provide some intersting reading in the future.

  4. Sorry, my post @ 21 October 2010 11:30 should be "Page 71".

  5. More Information/Opinions:

  6. I think much of the difference is inflation adjustment.

    There will also be differences around how things like:
    - capital vs revenue budgets
    - services etc being purchased from other government departments being accounted for differently
    - rebasing as a result of activities being moved out of HMRC (eg to SOCA, UKBA, possibly DWP if and when a Universal Benefits system is introduced). I suppose the same applies to activities that move in, though I can't think of anything substantial since the creation of HMRC.

    You'll know about all this, of course, because you're a Chartered Accountant.

    Naturally, HMRC's management, the government, the papers, bloggers, etc, can as a result pick and choose the measures that suit them.

    As Strathie told all staff this lunchtime (I only paraphrase slightly): don't worry your pretty little heads about it! No detailed explanation, no (perhaps more realistically, given the time available and the forum in which she was speaking) promise to provide a detailed written answer. Just condescension.

    I can't imagine why staff morale is so low!

  7. I read with interest the letter sent out by PCS about the upcoming protest against the cuts in Edinburgh.

    Although humorous I feel name calling is a little bit childish and the comment regarding Sir Gus O’Donnell’s £235,000.00 salary is quite rich really. I agree he earns this money for badly representing the whole of the civil service but how much does Mr Mark Serwoztika earn for badly representing a portion of the civil service. Is it still the same as average member's wage?

  8. Strathie-"We now have a lot more clarity about what the future holds for us"

    Like thousands more been told to piss off out of the department.

    Thanks to scaredy cats PCS.

  9. Just think, call center team leaders around the UK are now working out how many threats of dismissal they can get out of the news regarding the cuts.

  10. If you're peed off with HMRC then give stories of HMRC incompetence, mismanagement, or worse, to Ken who I am sure will publicise the matters-especially if there is a good human story where lives are being unnecessarily damaged.

  11. I think the real story is that the unions are once again only worried about their own agendas.

    The problems within HMRC and the service provided by HMRC are well documented already but yet the unions seem unwilling to take on the management (maybe because they pay dues as well) regarding these problems.

    But now the unions own income is threatened they suddenly become very vocal and active.

  12. To the poster @ 22 October 2010 09:39.

    That is a good idea actually.

    I do not work for HMRC but my partner does. I have done my best to support them over the years while they dealt with the constant crap given out by their team leader. I even tried to mediate the situation once but the team leader in question simply ignored me and carried on putting pressure on my partner. Maybe it is time to go public with the story of what it is like living in the shadow of HMRC. I will have a think about it and if my partner agrees I will send Ken the full story.

  13. I agree - it is time to blow the whistle on the lot of them. We need to know who is being protected from the revelation that they have EVADED (not avoided) tax. I simply do not believe that there are no Politicians, Senior Civil Servants or other high profile Public figures guilty of this criminal offence. HMRCs own policy says they should feel the full force of the Law - where are they?

  14. 22 October 2010 15:29

    Please do, we're all sick of being treated in the bullying manner that they think is right. We need someone to stand up and be counted for us all.

  15. 23 October 2010 09:49, you do have someone who should be sticking up for you. They are called the Unions. I think your problem is that they not only represent you (I use the phrase "represent you" loosly) but they also repreent the people doing the bullying.

    I have spoken to a couple of people in the PCS London office and they can give lots of waffle about how they can deal with problems when it involves members of the same union but there never seems to be an actual action. Well that is until now when they are faced with loosing members. The trouble is they are fighting to keep people in the jobs within HMRC but how many people see loosing a job in HMRC as the end of the world?

  16. I would like to add to my post above that the dig regarding the unions is not aimed at the local reps. The have been very supportive but limited in what they can do.

  17. 23/10, 10:10 Re the union also representing the people doing the cuts, that may be the case for ARC, but do PCS have members in senior management?

  18. 24 October 2010 10:56, I did not say the PCS union represented the people doing to cuts. My point is that the PCS (and the other unions) do not seem to want to tackle the working conditions HMRC employees endure but as soon as their membership levels are threatened they jump into action. I am sure they will argue they are trying to protect peoples jobs but it would be nice to see as much concern about the working conditions as well.

  19. Agree with 24 October 2010 14:47 above.

    HMRC management slowly eroded staff moral from 2005 onward, and got away with it scott free. Warning signs like long term sick, grievances etc increased but the management knew they could get away with it. People were not replaced, workloads increased, teams were broken up, over complicated working practices were introduced, and worst of all an atmosphere of simply not being made to feel welcome crept in. It was all deliberate becuase like the scumbags they are they knew they wouldn't get the full cull staff reduction through other means.

    A weak Union allows an agressive management to flourish.

  20. 24/10 14:47. Right you are. Just re-read your previous post. I think I must've not read it properly the first time. Sorry. I'd obviously just equated "bullying" with making cuts, which clearly wasn't your intention.