ARC welcomes Treasury Committee Report on HMRC

The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) – the union for senior HM Revenue and Customs staff – today welcomed the Treasury Select Committee’s report on the administration and effectiveness of HMRC. In particular, the report makes key points about the cuts in staff numbers and declining staff morale.

Graham Black, ARC President, said: “The Committee’s recognition that the cuts in HMRC are having a serious impact on delivery is one that we share. On the plus side, the report recognises the good work of HMRC professionals, for example in dealing with large businesses, in the face of severe cuts. We also welcome HMRC management’s commitment to improve service standards, though further cuts may undermine this.

“However, all this reinforces the message ARC has consistently put across: the cuts have gone too deep, and that more resources for HMRC would help defeat the deficit. Indeed, extra resources for HMRC would bring in more than the Government hopes to save by raiding the pensions of nurses, teachers and civil servants.”

ARC also still has grave concerns about the way in which HMRC is managed.

Black said: “While the Committee pointed to low morale and suggested HMRC leaders needed to change their approach, ARC is now in dispute with HMRC because of attempts by the department’s board members to worry and bully staff. This hardly suggests that HMRC is taking the Committee seriously, which is a serious error of judgement.”

Notes for editors

1. The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) is a union representing senior staff in HM Revenue and Customs, including tax inspectors, accountants, lawyers, managers and other leading professionals. ARC represents around 2,600 members in HMRC at grade 7 and above, and also trainees in grade 7 entry schemes.  It is also a section of the FDA.

2. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 19,000 of the UK’s senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as “The FDA” and can be described as “the senior public servants’ union”.

4. ARC published a report Being Bold – a Radical Approach to Raising Revenue and Defeating the Deficit in September 2010. It led the way in urging the Government to increase the number of tax professionals in HMRC to tackle tax cheats and raise funds for the Exchequer. Despite pledges for additional reinvestment (£917m), regrettably, the Government announced a month later that HMRC resources would be cut by 15% over the next four years. This adds up to ten years of successive cuts.

5. ARC members are senior HMRC professionals engaged in work that brings in the majority of the £12bn tax gap closure delivered by HMRC last year. This work is incredibly cost effective. An ARC member earning £50k can expect to generate additional yield of at least £1.5m each year; a return of 30 times their cost. For every £1 of yield the Exchequer benefits by an additional £1 through the deterrent effect of this work both on the subject of the compliance intervention and on those who might be tempted to cheat on their taxes. The recent public outrage over tax avoidance and evasion demonstrates that people want a tax system that is fair to all.  This can only be achieved if HMRC has sufficient resources to tackle tax avoidance and evasion across all sectors.

6. Graham Black, ARC President, is available for comment.

7. For further information contact:

  1. Graham Black, ARC President, tel: 020 7401 5559 or 07766 497976.
  2. Debbie Stamper, ARC officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  3. Graham Flew, ARC officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
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