Union anger over HMRC job cuts

Confirmation that HM Revenue and Customs is to close 130 offices has met with condemnation from union officials, who say unclaimed tax has almost doubled since the department started shredding jobs

The PCS union has reacted angrily to today's confirmation HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that it is pressing ahead with plans to close 130 offices.

Confirmation of the closures across the UK could see up to 1,700 staff lose their jobs. The closures are part of HMRC's plans to cut 25,000 jobs and close more than 200 offices by 2011.

The union said the closures would severely reduce tax advice and support to the public and businesses, as well as undermining the ability of the department to collect tax revenue.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said it was "no coincidence" that as staff at HMRC have been cut, the amount of uncollected tax has risen. HMRC has cut more than 20,000 jobs since 2006 and the union says that the percentage of uncollected tax written off as "doubtful to be collected" has risen from 23% in 2006 to 40% in 2009.

He said closing offices and cutting jobs made no economic sense and would "do nothing" to help the country towards economic recovery.

The largest office set to close is in Accrington, where 81 jobs will be cut, according to the union.

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