Government must listen to HMRC staff over tax office closures

Today the Government made a statement in the House of Commons about its proposed closures of HMRC tax offices across the country.

City MP Stephen Morgan has been working alongside Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds MP to fight the closures and understand the impact on people in Portsmouth. Lynx House in Cosham employs hundreds of people in the area and has a vital role in the city’s economy.

The Portsmouth South MP raised concerns with Minsters in the House today, asking why the government isn’t listening to 79% of HMRC staff surveyed who believe closures will undermine the department’s ability to provide tax collection.

Responding to the Minister’s announcement, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“HMRC has 2,000 fewer staff today than it did on the day of the EU referendum. It is highly problematic that this government has been dramatically cutting HMRC staff levels, yet it expects it to have a “strong stance” on tax avoidance and evasion.

I saw these effects first hand in September when the Shadow Financial Secretary, Anneliese Dodd’s and I visited Portsmouth HMRC Office Lynx House. It was made clear on our visit that the claims by this government that closures were due to the ‘modernisation’ of HMRC were nothing more than an attempt to disguise widespread cuts to the department.

Lynx House employs many hardworking people in my city and across the region, I will not allow this government to heavily undermine their ability to function, with 79% of staff surveyed saying that the proposed plans would undermine their ability to provide tax collection. I trust the judgement of those who work within the department over that of the government”.

With the uncertainty perpetuated by this government’s stance on Brexit and their refusal to rule out ‘No Deal;’, more so than ever, it is essential that HMRC is properly staffed and funded.

The city MP added:

“The Public Accounts Committee that I sit on has explained that HMRC will face tough decisions when it comes to resource allocation, boosting tax revenue tackling tax evasion and implementing the transformation programme.

I fail to see how the government thinks that this is an acceptable time to make cuts to the department”.