Government launches new jobs attack
Jim Harra, HMRC’s chief executive, has written to staff in the department to confirm that “the prime minister has asked for a plan to return civil service workforce numbers to 2016 levels over the next 3 years. This means reducing the current workforce by around 91,000 over that timeframe, from across all departments and arm’s length bodies.”
The notice goes on to say “No decisions have been taken yet on how we will do this or how it will impact HMRC’s people or the work we do” and “we will work to produce our plans over the next month”.
HMRC's current workforce numbers are already in the same ballpark as those in 2016, but despite this, it’s clear that all departments are going to be hit by the latest in a long line of vindictive attacks by this government on its own employees.
Already creaking services
HMRC’s services are already creaking with the pressures of delivering new schemes and by major changes to the way we work, brought about by Brexit. Areas in customer services such as our telephony service, and areas in customer compliance such as fraud Investigation are particularly strained. In compliance alone, management had accepted the need for more than 4,000 additional staff; and in customer services, they’ve announced they’re extending the contracts of hundreds of agency staff and were planning to recruit hundreds more.
It’s now not clear what impact the announcement will have on any of this.
Tens of billions brought into Treasury by HMRC staff
HMRC members still bring far more into the Treasury coffers than we cost. In a reply to a parliamentary question in 2021, the government confirmed that in 2020, £36billion was brought into the Treasury by HMRC staff. That was around £1.5million for every member of staff working in customer compliance at the time.
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