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.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Strike Threat

Threat Level
AccountingWeb reports that there will be a strike by HMRC staff on 30th June.

PCS conducted a strike ballot and 60% of a 32% turnout (19% of the membership) voted to go on strike in protest over pension changes, job cuts and a pay freeze.

The strike will cause delays in answering phone and postal queries.

Given that taxpayers are "customers", those who are dissatisfied with further delays can simply take their business elsewhere;).

PCS warn of possible further strikes in the autumn.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Strikes are going to be a problem, but I don't think the whole place will grind to a halt on a one day stoppage.

    I am surprised the other internal big news is not being discussed here?

    There was a "change announcement" issued by ExComm on the 15 June and it was the most detailed and professionally handled bad news story in my experience at hmrc. I will wash my mouth out, but it's true. All managers drew attention to it and there are hyper linked updates galore on the intranet. We even had a hastily convened meeting where the main areas were highlighted. 

    Office Closures
    Creation of "Key Sites" with sattelite offices
    Job losses by department and timescales
    Future look of HMRC.
    Timeline of future announcements to the end of 2012

  2. Sorry

    Should have added, the way this is being handled locally adds more weight to Kens earlier blog post titled "Faith" about loss if confidence in local management.

    There is a very chilling line on the bottom of graphs about the numbers of G6/G7 staffing that would have them wearing Pampers special products under their clothes :)

    Nice to see managers getting it in the neck as well for the fiasco we gave become. I don't see much hope for a few lickspittles in the next few months. Well I can hope!

    Strikes or no strikes, welcome to the brave new wirld

  3. will anybody notice?

  4. "An HMRC spokeswoman said it would make contingency arrangements to ensure that all its call centres stay open to minimise disruption to the public"

    These include minimising time staff take to use the toilet, shortening call duration to the tax payer,
    eyeballing staff,
    telling staff who dont strike, "It will look good on your PDE", Puttting the arse-licks on high alert, bullying people on the 1st July.

  5. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HaHa Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha17 June 2011 at 11:05

    Strike Threat

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

  6. Makes selecting people for redundancy easier and saves some cash in the process.

    Oh yeah, and changes nothing regarding pensions as well.

  7. There was a post on this site recently where a poster suggested that if tax payers where not happy with HMRC's service then they could exercise their right to leave the country.

    Well if HMRC's staff are not happy with the planned reforms then they can always exercise their right to leave and get another job.

  8. @10.40

    The Key offices are large centres based around already existing delivery points. Cardiff, Liverpool, Lindon etc. The satellites are smaller centres in nearby towns/ cities.

    The key sites are safe from closure. Everyone else, well it depends on leases on the buildings, the nature if work they do etc.

    Hmrc needs to find savings of 20% (15 if you believe ExCom) by 2015 whilst delivering an extra 7bn in revenue from "customers".

  9. whilst delivering an extra 7bn in revenue from its customers

    When that plan fells flat on its arse.Whats the betting on the HMRC sacking a other 5000 or os to try and make up for the short fall.?

  10. Try listening to Mark Serwotka PCS Gen Sec. being interviewed, he speaks with clarity and conviction, states the truth and can hold his own in front of the cameras which is more than can be said for Straithie and Co.

    The more astute among you will alread have realised that the Public Sector Unions, NHS, Prison Officers, Teachers and probably a fair proportion of Doctors are shaping up to act together and why not? Not having a pay rise is an effective paay cut, having your hard earned pensions messed about with is an insult and a breech of contract.
    At the moment 750000 will be out on 30th June, more will follow.

  11. At least you have a choice. You can leave HMRC. Those of us on the outside simply have to put up with your shite service and listen to you bleating on about your pay and pensions.

  12. Ahhh, it's you again!
    Crawl back under your stone fool.
    You are depriving some village of its idiot and the only reason I can see for following you is out of idle curiosity.

  13. I'll ask my jestering boss if I can relocate outside the job center. That way I can entertain you as well.

  14. I like the way the low turnout is being made a point of when the government of the entire united kingdom for the next 5 years was elected on about the same percentage lines.

    PS The commenter that you are referring to said that there was a choice of living in a country which pays tax and one which doesn't e.g. Dubai. There's a subtle difference that it seems you are too ignorant to understand.

  15. Even the FDA are considering industrial action over the pensions.

    I say 'good show' as they won't be joining the 30th June which means when they go off the rest of us can run the place properly for a while.

    Plus for every one that goes off, the treasury can save some of their salary for my pension!

  16. FDA aren't being idle about it either:

    See here and here

  17. Dubai!
    It's built on sand FFS, if it doesn't slide back into the ocean soon it will be overrun by the "Arab Spring" - good old Foreign Office has just told all Brits to get out of Syria.
    Rather than get sand between me toes I will stay and fight for democracy in my own country thankyou.
    WRT the FDA contemplating action, well that just about sums the situation up, things must be bad if the "Ivory Towers" are beginning to rattle!
    As for 21:36/22:36, I agree with 12:45, not only are you too ignorant to understand, you are too stupid to realise your limitations. Do us all a favour and evaporate.

  18. @12:45,

    There is no difference. It is all about choice. If you do not like what is coming then make a choice. Live with it or leave and get another job. Simples, even for you.

  19. @13:08

    If agreeing with the changes coming your way is being ignorant then I can handle that. As for being stupid, who works for HMRC?

  20. Weather the unions like it or not change will have to come.The money is running out.

    Because growing numbers of the "customers" of the HMRC are getting fed-up been fleeced to pay for it all.

  21. People, for thats what they are, who still work for what is now HMRCISHITE/103rd/LamebrainsArmy etc. do so, even now, because they want to, they see the Civil Service as just that, not a playground for the arrogant or the evangelical (no disrespect, "whoever your God may be" - the late Dave Allen).
    These people strive to do a good job against all odds and frankly HMRC does not deserve the majority of the staff it has got.
    There are bad apples in every sack and most of the current crop have been created by the management approach, Pacesetter and society itself which provides the newcomers.
    Don't be too hasty to criticise the staff, some of them are going to be out of work shortly, about 10,000 at least. If you think HMRC is capable of developing with its IT partners a robust, reilient IT infrastructure you are deluded. It is the staff at the workface who are going to have to hold the crumbling edifice together.
    And what jobs would they go to should they want to leave, the private sector, don't make me laugh.
    Try looking to where the problems arose for the solution - Labour & Blair/Brown and the banks. Try looking at why Northern Rock went the way it did and while you are at it see which politicians "happened" to have a mortgage with them!

  22. Labour & Blair/Brown screwed the UK before the banks crashed.

    They took on 10's of thousands of public sector workers that we could not afford to lower the jobless count. Then they came up with a brilliant tax credit system that meant they had to sell off the gold and start borrowing money to pay for.

    I am sorry that people in the public sector feel they are being treated unfairly but they are are part of the problem even if they have no control over it. I wish you all well but do not support strike action on this issue.

  23. It seems that some people on this thread have 'Daily Failitis'.

    On one hand they say "Oh we pay too much in Salary etc. for all these bloated services which I don't need".

    Then when the PCS goes on strike along with the teachers unions suddenly it's "such a huge disruption these selfish people are creating".

    Hypocrites much?

    Some of them even go as far to say they want their tax back (forgetting of course that striking isn't a free day out for those involved as it removes salary and pension entitlement for the period the industrial action is carried out for therefore is not costing them any money).

    These people are equally as stupid as the tea partiers in the US who called for a government shutdown back in April. I was secretly hoping that congress would reach a stalemate in order to teach those rednecks a lesson.

    The only reason they want to raid our pension pots is not because it's costing too much but because of the strain that financial institutions e.g. investment banks are putting on the UK treasury. The civil service pension schemes are actually sustainable.

    @18 June 2011 13:08
    That is sort of the point I was trying to make. There are people here who say HMRC staff have a choice 'and can just leave if they are not happy' but taxpayers (which include HMRC staff) don't have a choice to pay tax - so the argument here is well.... yes they do have a choice but it wouldn't necessarily be as beneficial as they are trying to make out but I don't think they understood the hypocrisy of their own argument.

  24. @18 June 2011 13:41

    If you don't like it. Live with it or leave the country (and go to a country with a non stable goverment or one which would refuse you the right to work).

    Simples, even for you!

  25. "Some of them even go as far to say they want their tax back"

    Also would they ever try this extremely pathetic argument in any other sector?

    In 2009 Visteon went on strike. Would these people then say 'well I bought a car with parts manufactured by Visteon and as they are now striking I demand some of my money back'?

    No. Why??? Because it's LUDICROUS!!!!!

  26. @15:00

    I don't need to leave the country becuase the government is going to change things in a way that I agree with.

    Simples, especially for me.

  27. Dubai... 'not fit for purpose' as prophesied 2,000 years ago in Matthew 7:24-27 onwards

    #The foolish man built his house upon the sand

    #The foolish man built his house upon the sand

    #The foolish man built his house upon the sand

    #And the rain came tumbling down

    #Oh, the rain came down

    #And the floods came up

    #The rain came down

    #And the floods came up

    #The rain came down

    #And the floods came up

    #And the foolish man's house went "splat!" [clap hands once]

  28. @18 June 2011 15:22

    If you think this minority government is going to do anyone any favours then you are clearly deluded.

    The only people they are serving are themselves and the corporate 'stakeholders' they are serving.

  29. It is funny how politicised this is becoming?

    To those on Capitalism is brilliant and those who think Socialism is heavenly, please desist.

    To those who talk of "minority" government, the Govt has a majority and a coalition agreement. It is constitutional as The current system allowed it. If you d.not like it, whether you are left or right, agitate through tHe channels available, get your party to change the law when they get into power.

    About gifts being elected on minority of the votes, well, everyone please relax, were you screaming when Blair and Labour were elected on the smallest share of the vote in history in 2005? Again, not party political, but Cameron/Conservatives got a bigger share of the vote in 2010 than Labour did in 2005. There are various demographic and boundary reasons why this did not result in the same seat distribution in both elections, but everyone please stop ranting about politics and focus on why HMRC is shite. Please.

  30. @18 June 2011 16:04

    The post that Ken put on here was about the strike, which has nothing to do with HMRC, hence why this is politicised, because the subject was bought up by Ken.

  31. @18 June 2011 16:04

    and as you will know PCS doesn't just represent people in HMRC but members in several departments which people rely on even if they don't realise it

  32. @16:04

    HMRC is shite because the staff are worrying more about their pensions and retirement dates than doing the work they are being paid for.

  33. @18 June 2011 16:48

    Not quite right. The government is worrying civil servants by taking away their accrued pension rights and asking them to pay more in the process.

    A pension of £4,000 p/a on average after 40 years service isn't that much to worry about.

  34. @17:11,

    I admit I can only go what published in the press.

    However, I understand that the accrued pension rights are being protected.

    And I think the:

    "A pension of £4,000 p/a on average after 40 years service isn't that much to worry about."

    is linked to the fact they only contribute "up to" around 4% of their salarie towards their pension.

    I also know that the old argument about getting a good pension instead of low wages has also changed over the years and that is based on personal knowledge and not just the press.

  35. The last one should have said:

    "good pension instead of good wages"

  36. @18 June 2011 17:43

    What do you beleive the average wage of someone working in the civil service (minus the SCS) to be?

    There is no reason to raid the pension pots of the public sector, which has been paid for out of savings from public sector salaries and massive job cuts in the public sector.

    Several people here talk of the bloated public sector yet between 2005-2010 HMRC lost 30% of its staff. DWP must have lost between 15-20% and the Land Registry is a shell of its former self.

    I note that Kens HMRCisShite site only took off when the country felt the bite of the Labour cuts.

    As for the Gordon Brown argument, he removed tax relief for company pensions, which the greedy private investors hadn't gambled upon. Ergo: Why should the government pay for the private sector pensions? Not so great when the shoe is on the other foot is it?

    Conservative cuts to the public sector will not shield anyone from harm except the mega-rich e.g. those who can park ferrari's or helicopters outside 5 star hotels and do not delude yourself that the middle class will be safe from the cuts. Once you learn 'Thomas' and 'Jackie' have been rejected from your local academy for being different in some way and your cul-de-sac has not been repaired for months by the Tory run council and the drive to the nearest hospital (20 miles) for your wife's essential treatment (which the local 'GP forum' has decided isn't within their budget) you will soon learn that public sector workers are one of the lines of defence in this.

  37. One of the first lines of defence. No doubt some Anal retentive will pick up on this otherwise.

  38. The more I see of HMRC the more I am inclined to believe the references to the Muppet Show.
    then along comes a bit that reminds me of Playschool with a bit of Pythonesque.
    Seriously folks, don't be fooled by some of those posting on here they are only trying to wind you up and that is getting a bit transparent. The lack of understanding exhibited by these few morons combines with their self-delusional approach to give an air of simplicity bordering on stupidity. Let 'em have their say just continue to humour them.

    23:14 hits the right note, you ain't seen nothing yet and with a tax avoiding Chancellor (Artful Dodger George) you can lay odds where the emphasis of HMRC will be, it won't be chasing Mapely and the rest of the "offshore" brigade.

  39. "What do you beleive the average wage of someone working in the civil service (minus the SCS) to be?"

    No worse than someone doing the same job in the private sector.

  40. Sorry for my ignorance but can someone confirm if the pensions being discussed are in addition to the state pension?

  41. The state pension is likely going to be worth a flat rate £155 a week by 2015, which everyone in the country will receive regardless of whether they paid in to it for 30 years or were on disability benefits all their life (as they receive NI credits).

    So ironically it will be worth more than the civil service pension to some people!

  42. Average wage of civil service staff:

    I've been employed for 8 years, I'm an AO grade (so fairly average - not management), when I started I was told i would have a pay progression from the bottom of the scale (approx 17,000 to 21,000 within 5 years), 8 years later i'm still on progression has been halted completely, IF and god forbid IF I stay until retirement (i'm currently 37 years old) I will be looking at an OCCP of £4K per year. Its not really gold plated is it !?!

    One day in a few years I will get out of this hell hole job, at the moment the job fits around my family.

    But I would like to say that before joining I thought it would be a cushy job, fab pay and benefits, I can only tell you that its NOT, its an awful job being abused all day every day and I cant wait to be out of it!!!

  43. When I last looked at a call centre job in 2004 the starting salary was 16,000.

    An AO in the contact centre was paid about 13,000 if I remember rightly. This is despite the fact that they have to be mini-accountants with instant knowledge of all aspects of the tax system and run complex calculations in their head within about 30 seconds in some respects.

    To add insult to injury, callers (sometimes accountants themselves on twice as much) will sarcastically whine "typical £$%£$%@ call centres, not in your 'script' is it?" and you're thinking 'hang on a minute you phoned me for advice because you didn't know yourself you #£$%!' but you have to remain calm.

  44. Anyone who thinks working in hmrc or public sector civil service jobs are great need their heads examined.

    I worked in some shit private sector jobs before I went to Customs-HMRC. But I got out after 7 years. No way.

    Theyre designed to destroy your dignity, self respect and mental health. Maybe Labour created thousands of these jobs to lower unemployment but thats hardly the fault of someone trying their best in a shit environment, thousands of whom earn 14.000 to 16,000 p/a.

  45. I do not understand staff at HMRC.
    I try but I just don't.

    For years HMRC have operated aggressive, often, underhand policies all in the name of collecting tax for the public good.
    Not really using their discretion in favour of individuals and always favouring the government line.
    Disavowing themselves of all personal responsibility and quoting those dreaded words:
    "I'm just doing my Job".
    No matter the consequences to individuals, their families, their communities or businesses.

    "Remember it's all in a good cause, Schools and hospitals"
    Never mind that an individual may already be helping society.

    Ruination and depression of members of the public?
    "We can't help the way you feel. These things happen. It's the law"

    Even now you feel inclined to push the public as hard as possible, in some hope of getting a pat on the head from your masters. They are still going to what yours on the same basis that you go around mugging the public.

    Now it's your turn HMRC staff.
    You supported these guys, management, government, politicians, whoever.


    I'm really sorry.
    I can't help how you feel.
    It's the law.
    The money goes to schools and hospitals.

  46. Transfer the pension scheme into a scheme that is also available to the general public and see how much you really have to contribute to get a decent return.

  47. Dear WAT TYLER
    Its a good job the majority of HMRC staff are not as you describe and supporting these guys, government, management and politicians otherwise the 103rd would be in a different galaxy.
    Its only the pathetic sycophants who support management and Pacesetter that should suffer your criticism.
    If the truth ever gets out about how bad things really are within this long running farce the average taxpayer ("customer") would probably join the demo's on the 30th in protest themselves. The figures wasted by the Muppet Show production unit are in the billions, not the millions, especially WRT IT.
    If you are outside the show and one of the audience you simply don't have a clue.
    So if the staff are pissed off at the system for allowing the petty dictators to screw things up without fear of retribution and at the same time see their hardly gold plated pensions drift towards private sector fund managemnt with increased costs at the same time as they will have to work longer without pay rises when inflation is at 5% CAN YOU REALLY BLAME THEM?

  48. @19 June 2011 12:19
    You do know you are talking BS don't you? As every pension provider will have at some point provided a tailored 'private' package to employees of a certain employer/industry and that some employers contribute more towards their employees pensions than others, therefore no realistic direct comparison can be made.

    However, my AVC is making a 16% return (compared to the 50% loss the proposed changes to my CSP Classic Scheme) as I refused to change my options despite CSP warning the fund manager would be closing some of my options down and also despite a very low level of contributions. Funny that these were the ones making me the most money. What was that about private pensions not comparing very well to the CSP?

  49. @19 June 2011 08:28

    That may be slightly true, however civil service pay scales are quite narrow compared to other employers and offer little to improve (perhaps £200 for a 'top' marking compared to 10x that in the private sector) or company benefits.

    Simple stationery seems to be considered such a privilege to the extent there now is a 'swapshop' on the intranet to recycle old stuff and send it via the company that lost 25 million peoples information - yet somehow managed to get even more work from the department.

    The slightly generous Civil Service Pension (when compared to the employee contributions) is about the only thing left and that is why the public sector are fighting for it and are prepared to lose a days pay (which would compare to about 2-4 hours work in the private sector in some cases) and possibly more in the future to secure it.

  50. @19 June 2011 12:36

    I'd like to believe you but I know it's not true.

    I've met some really decent people working for HMRC. Really decent. Good people. Honestly.

    I've also met some right so and so's. Real attack dogs. Ruthless.

    Both, however have the same thing in common. No discretion. No willingness to do the helpful thing, morally, socially or economically.

    "I'm just doing my job"

    What is the point in shutting down businesses and putting sending people to the dole queue only to have them claim huge amounts money from the state?

    What's the point in charging fines and penalties to people who don't the money in the first in place?

    Why screw people over for not getting their filing done on time when you know that both your IT systems and procedures are messed up?

    Who does it help to stop frauds occuring only to let them grow and then claim that there's a problem that needs more resource?

    Who does ot help to alienate agents that are trying to ensure a good outcome in any diputes or enquiries?

    Why didn't anything come out about the 10p cut in income tax years ago?

    The list goes on and on.

    I understand that you think that these people are in the minority but, well, they are not. They are all of you. I'm not saying I don't understand why you have done what you have done.

    Now it's time to look in the mirror. Nobody likes to blame themselves

    But ask yourself:
    "Why doesn't the public care"

    The answer is staring you in the face. You may not like it but there it is.

    Why didn't you go on strike when the public were being treated like shit under the boot heels of your colleagues! Did you?

    The same people that you want sympathy from now have been hardened to your plight.

    You can win them back!

    It's been mentioned on this site before.


    When heads start rolling and it's the good staff that are taking out the underhand staff then you too can get what you want.

    Strike as much as you want.
    Your jobs will be outsourced, and the public will be the ones begging for it.

    Take my advice. Don't take my advice. But mark my words and watch it all unfold.

  51. We seem to be going round in circles on this whistleblowing issue.

    "Yet another failed government contract" will not sell papers.

    The media are only interested in publishing such a story if it can lay the blame at solely 'whitehall fat cats' e.g. with the HMRC 'Oscars' whereas a lot of the problems at HMRC have been due to the interference of consultants/contractors of very large companies and therefore the media won't publish the story because of the amount of legal mettle these corporations normally have.

  52. There seems to be a high degree of hypocrisy in some of the comments on here.

    The DMesque commenters appear to be blaming the public sector for getting themselves organised and fighting against the employer. Then have the audacity to call people here 'cowards' for not speaking out against things that are happening. PCS has run several campaigns over the last few years directed at the public re the loss of public services but those people didn't listen and therefore only have themselves to blame when the service was reduced.

    It's not the fault of the public sector that the private sector failed to organise themselves in to trade unions to resist the changes that were happening in their sectors due to corporate greed.

    The public sector is fighting - maybe you should start doing that too.

  53. 19 June 2011 14:23

    Spot on.

    What happened to millions of pounds worth of private pensions. Lost to the greed of individuals.

  54. Don't want public sympathy, don't even want public support, but would appreciate the public seeing through the smoke and mirrors of corporate spin and political lies and actually realising WTF is going on.
    Your Civil Service is well down the Privatisation road and soon the Private sector will control the collection and basic administration and enforcement of taxes (privatised call centres possibly not in the UK and "storm trooper" you owe the money bailiffs), your NHS is way doen the same road, unless of course you live with your head up your rear and believe otherwise.
    Just in case you live in a dream world you should also realise just how much of the UK's armed forces have been privatised - no, not the brave servicemen and servicewomen, I mean the logistics, training and support services, tornado planes sent to the far reaches of the EU for servicing, fleet, what fleet?, support services under foreign flads of convienience and an MOD that is as bad or possibly even worse than the Excom and above Muppets at HMRCISSHITE.
    You really will be getting what you deserve as a member of the general public, and paying more for it!

  55. @19 June 2011 16:28

    There will probably be some idiots on here will go "Well at least we won't be paying so much for it or they will be more reasonable and won't make any mistakes".

    Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome CRAPITA, they took over the collection of TV licensing ages ago. Has the license gone down? No. Do they harass and chase people without televisions? All the time!

  56. Oops. Link is here, Good job I'm not a web master eh.

  57. @Wat Tyler

    This is a stupid story. I don't even work for Customs but As a farmer the person knows should at least should be aware that tending the local football pitch is not considered as farming and that this is what Red Diesel is for, but instead of admitting his mistake, he is moaning to the media and his MP when he was caught red handed (excuse the pun).

    His MP has the power to make amendments to the law by introducing bills but probably won't bother because it's easier for him to provide soundbites à la this moron (who is also a member of the larger party that pretends to govern this country) as he probably secretly knows that it's not in his interest (read 'career') to introduce such legislation.

    If the police had been there it would have been worse. The police very rarely only issue a 'warning' when it is beyond reasonable doubt in the opinion of the officer that an offence has been committed. Chances are he would have been arrested and prosecuted.

  58. @19 June 2011 13:52, 14:23, 14:56, 16:28

    What's that you say?

    "I'm really sorry.
    I can't help how you feel.
    I'm just doing my job."

    Keep up the good work.
    Good luck with the striking.
    No doubt your superior organisational skills will win the day. No Doubt at all.

  59. @19 June 2011 18:36


    That's very civic minded of you.

    Good luck to you too.

  60. @Wat Tyler

    No, HMRC cannot help people who feel extremely hard done by WRT fines that are relatively low to what other departments charge and can be appealed within a legal framework.

    I think you need to provide examples of disproportionately 'aggressive' collection by HMRC. Usually the department would only consider seizing goods to pay tax after all previous avenues (writing letters and getting ones back with marker pens saying 'go away' in less than polite language or 'this has all been sorted' and there is no indication the person has previously contacted HMRC, or telephoning/visiting the taxpayer and the taxpayer using threats of violence for example) have been exhausted.

    I once received a notice to appear in court over one late council tax payment.

    I paid the arrears and the court fees because I knew it was MY MISTAKE AND I HAD NO EXCUSE. I didn't go to to the local press and say "wasn't me guv... the council should have reminded me before I paid".

    Civic duty indeed.

  61. Also I love how this is still being framed as an HMRC only issue. PCS represents several departments in both the public and commercial sector (hence the name 'Public and Commercial Services' union). Several other unions are also planning strikes at the same time and a lot of them will probably have a higher turnout.

  62. Civic

    Read this page carefully.

    Can you see the bit where it mentions taxes?

    I know, I know.
    "I'm just doing me job, mate."
    I know. It's ok.

    Just one last time.
    Just to get this right.

    HMRC are Shite when the employees say so but not when members of the public say so.
    OK. I Get it now.

  63. @Wat Tyler you're being pathetic..

    Most of the staff who post here recognise that things need to be improved but are met with obstacles at every junction. Some of them will have been trying for years. Even 'going public' but nothing changes.

    If you try and dispute a debt with a commercial company they send you to a DCA and it's very rarely they'll write off a debt that is due just because you say it isn't.

    They (DCA's) will then write threatening letters saying they'll make you bankrupt or obtain court orders over tiny amounts like £60 and if you give them simple questions to answer, you advise them they are breaking OFT guidelines and they stick two fingers up at you, you end up going back and forth between the DCA and the company you allegedly owe the debt to as they continually pass the buck.

    Aren't the employees of those companies 'just doing their job'?

    Don't make HMRC workers out to be 'jobsworths' when you have absolutely no idea what the job entails. It's true that maybe it's easy to get in to the job but once you've been there for a while you are mentally worn down by the public perception of the service you are trying to do to the best of your ability with so many limitations.

  64. Google 'Red Debt Collection Services' and see the horror stories of this DCA and come back to me and see if you still think HMRC staff are comparatively aggressive.

  65. @Wat Tyler

    WRT to that wiki page. There are three fingers pointing back at you.

    You seem to think that the public sector should fight all your battles for you, You are presented with examples of when this has happened collectively and because the public don't support the people who are working for them, this falls flat on its face.

    You disregard all of this and continue to call people here 'jobsworths' and 'they didn't fight for me'.

    How about you practice what you preach and participate in mass civil disobedience yourself instead of expecting other people to do it for you? You are a complete and total hypocrite otherwise and you will only have yourself to blame.

  66. Not sure where what Tyler? is coming from but don't give a FF!
    He is certainly not as well "briefed" as he should be.

    Anyroads, getting back to the more important things in life, I followed the link ref. the farmer mowing the football field, and then did a wee bit of research on google.

    First off, did not HMRC exercise the use of discretionary powers during the somewhat snowy winter we experienced and allow farmers to clear roads etc?

    Next up, one of the first sites to pop up when I entered the search criteria excise civil penalties HODA discretion, up came one related to an HMRC guidance manual titled X-51B CivilPenalties.
    I think it was para 4.2 that caught my attention, something to do with exercise of discretion and "All Excise Civil Penalties" are discretionary and burbles on about Failure to comply with an obligation and then further states "It is important in some circumstances to consider other compliance measures before assessing a penalty for example verbal warning/education"

    In my humble opinion, the farmer/taxpayer/customer should go to the highest level if neccesary to get this penalty overturned. The excuse given by the HMRC "spokesman" appears out of kilt with HMRC's own guidelines and the 3 officers appear to have been a wee bit over zealous, of course they may be acting under orders, however were those orders a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
    Either way being hammered for a first time offence such as this is way over the top.
    Not sure how much revenue is at risk from mowing a football field FFS but bound to be less than £250.
    Yes it was probably an untaxed agricultural tractor undertaking a non-business/agricultural use but was that what the legislation was drafted for?

    Oh yes, and What, go away, you are now an irritant.

  67. @19 June 2011 20:59

    I'm trying very hard to not be pathetic.

    I understand that HMRC staff have issues.

    I have spoken to many staff who are pissed off and in private moments admit that they are pissed off. They know that tax rates for the john on the street are too high in comparison to the way that public sector spending is structured. They're pissed off with having to collect money from people in these hard times.

    They are mostly pissed off with being bullied by managers and abused by the public.

    Re-read my comments. I just think that staff really need to see that HMRC grunts are the just like public and need to show some solidarity with the public.

    I get that you think that private debt collection agencies are a bit crazy and ruthless.
    They are not as bad as HMRC because HMRC cannot be touched. You may feel this is not true but every non HMRC person i have ever spoken to does not feelthis way.

    Look at the example of the farmer.
    If some private debt collection agency or company had tried to put that debt on him, they probably would have been mown over. Not HMRC though. HMRC carry the full weight of government behind them. Just because others may behave in a mercenary fashion doesn't mean HMRC have to. You are better than that.

    Use your powers sparingly and wisely, in the first place.
    People really shouldn't have to go all the way through the courts system. As people you should try and help the public, that you serve, not cripple them.

    If any of you got the idea that these are personal attacks they aren't. I just want you to stop and think.

  68. LOL. You believe we have discretion about when to use powers and when not to.

  69. Anonymous 22:00 23:37
    You sound like a PR disaster waiting to happen.

  70. Sorry l meant last comment was meant to be just at anonymous 23:37.

  71. I think everyone on the public sector needs to take a step back and look at the situation.

    The previous government was borrowing huge amounts of money to pay its way and cover the tax credit bill of the UK before the banking crisis caught them out.

    When a company in the private sector cocks up financially then it usually results in job cuts and various cut backs. Seeing as everyone in the public sector works for the government and the current crisis is the government's fault then it should come as no surprise that jobs are cut and other changes take place.

    Those of you who have had the wages frozen, cut and pensions about to be slashed should just remember they work for the people responsible.

    Striking will not hurt the government it will only hurt you.

  72. Discretion is enshrined in law.
    The use of it is another matter and even to begin the process requires an open mindset.
    The fact that the ability to use discretion, if that is the case, is not understood by the officers on the ground or the PR geezer speaks volumes.
    As someone stated previously this was a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

  73. @20 June 2011 16:40

    Right then lets just let the government go bankrupt in that case and we'll just lay off all the police, doctors, nurses, military, teachers, air traffic controllers, court staff, coastguard, customs officers, (civil defence staff), highway maintenance, health/food safety staff, border control, passport issuers and prison staff shall we?

    Because obviously the individuals in this country are perfectly happy to pay for those services directly out of their own pocket at full expense at any rate the profit-maker wishes to charge rather than through taxes that for the most part (in case some nitpicker says 'yes but....') assessed on their ability to pay the taxes through their earned income.

  74. 20 June 2011 19:32.

    You seem to have a problem with accepting that you are part of a government that has screwed this country up and is now having to sort itself out.

    Deal with it like the rest of us having had too.

  75. Re. 19:32 - Well you are up to date pal, since the creation of the UKBA there has been no such thing as a Customs Officer! Courts aew closing, Police are being laid off and unless I am mistaken most of Air Traffic Control has been privatised anyway. The current state of the "pothole highways" is ever growing and their is no civil defence staff in any shape or form, prisons are being privatised regularly and you obviously have not had anyone laid on a trolley or even still in the ambulence outside casualty because until they are in casualty they are not "on the clock". The HSE is a toothless tiger and food safety is already a no go area made worse by the influx of bushmeat or the mass takeover of abbatoirs by the Halal butchery system (no disrespect just reporting fact here).
    However you are heading in the right direction, we'll get you back on track.

  76. @20 June 2011 20:06

    And the government seems to have difficulty accepting that is is part of the fabric of the United Kingdom. What is your point?

    Using the same logic. I could go in to Tesco's and demand a share of their profits simply because I shopped there once and as a contributor I have a right to say how they distribute their profits.

    @20 June 2011 20:53

    BTW Customs officers do exist separate from the UKBA, they have some shared responsibility but they are not integrated and regardless of the fact that air traffic control is privatised it doesn't change the fact that the income doesn't come directly from the consumer.

    You also seem to think that failed privatisation in the past is a reason for it to continue in the future. Answers on a postcard please?

  77. The old turnout issue comes up all the time. That’s the argument the government is trying to use constantly to diminish the action that is proposed. The government’s logic is that all of those who did not vote were in effect voting No to the strike action. False. Neither can those on the other side state that those who did not vote would have voted Yes. You cannot say either way. Because they did not vote. All you can go on is the result of the actual vote itself. The same as in a general election. Accept that then move on.

    Those who voted yes,would have had to accept it if a majority vote was No. Why can’t those who vote No, or who look in from the outside and try to dismiss the public anger at the slaughter of the services we all pay for, do the same? If you must extrapolate numbers, all you could reasonably do is say that those who did not vote would have voted in much the same proportions as those who did vote. That’s what statistics and the law of averages tell us.

    The media has ignored PCS strikes in the past, just giving brief mentions on the day if we're lucky. Why the big coverage now? Because if teachers are on strike, the kids stay at home and all the little drone workers (like me) have to stay home to look after them. Then the corporations lose a day's profits. They can't have that can they?

    But move from trying to spin stats. Acknowledge that cutting the essential public services that keep this country running is a bad thing. I’ll stand up for you when your area of work is attacked. Otherwise, we all get picked off one by one. Not a country I want to live in.

  78. Re Customs Officers - I believe the breed HAS ceased to exist with former HM C&E duties being undertaken by UKBA, HMRC and even the Police these days!
    Please prove me wrong, but I don't belive Customs Officers are anything but extinct in the UK.