The need to invest in HMRC to achieve tax justice was highlighted by PCS deputy president Kevin McHugh during a TUC Congress debate today (12) on creating a stronger economy.
Composite motion 1, which was carried unanimously, said the government needed to address the fundamental problems in our economy – lack of investment, endemic short-termism in business, inequality and stagnating pay.
Kevin said investing in HMRC resources and jobs and reversing office closures should be a fundamental part of this plan.
“We can't have a debate about developing a strong economy without discussing tax justice,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. If you have less tax workers you collect less tax. Stop the cuts in HMRC and help the economy. This government has completely failed to close the £120 billion annual tax gap. Tax avoidance is a scourge that undermines public services.”
Hope and opportunity
In moving the motion Steve Turner from Unite said that it’s the labour movement’s job to “replace fear and despair with hope and opportunity, to defeat austerity industrially and politically.”
“It's time for a better Britain for working people. One in eight workers are skipping meals to make ends meet. And in the next 5years unsecured household debt is set to hit £15,000,” he said.
“It’s our job to build a strong trade union movement to defeat austerity industrially and politically.”
The motion, backed by Aslef, stressed the need for a new economic model to replace failed austerity.
The motion said that public investment in infrastructure pays for itself as evidenced by a report by the OECD which showed that investing 0.5% of GDP in UK infrastructure could boost overall GDP by almost 0.6% as well as reducing the nation’s debt as a share of GDP by 0.2%. And that infrastructure investment can improve the quality of jobs, skills and training and enhance the lives of citizens through improvements to housing, transport and the digital economy as well as reducing carbon emissions.
The motion welcomed the Labour party’s pledge to create a National Investment Bank to support infrastructure investment, rebuild the UK’s industry and provide support for SMEs.
This must be coupled with measures to ensure that investment delivers good quality, decent work. The transition to a high skill economy is best achieved by delivering security for people – stronger employment and trade union rights and representation, earnings and job security with training and development.
The motion also acknowledged the role that government has in ensuring the economy delivers prosperity for all.