A news item today on AOL that Barclays is to cut 1,000 jobs. 1,000 job losses is newsworthy. H.M. Revenue and Customs is aiming to cut 25,000 by 2011.
That’s 25,000 less people chasing smugglers, stopping tax evasion and collecting money for the Treasury to spend.
The PCS union estimates the ‘Tax Gap’ – tax that should be paid but isn’t – is £25 Billion pounds- roughly 6% of the Government’s budget. The actual figure may be higher. So what is the Whitehall response? Try to save £300 million (approx 8% of HMRC budget) by cutting jobs and centralisation. The trouble is figures are being published- many of them the Revenue’s own, that seem to show a fall in revenue of £200m minimum. AND THAT’S JUST WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT. What can not be predicted is how many more will start taking advantage of the loop-holes as they realise the chance of getting caught is dropping.
Apparently we will have to work ‘smarter’ in an age of less staff. Well, just to stay still it will take a 33% performance increase. If we are capable of that, would it not be better to gather more tax, which will outweigh the savings not made?