by Tim Lezard Senior HM Revenue and Customs officials are accused of an “orchestrated plot” to undermine the PCS following the leak of a top level memo. The revelation comes after HMRC had unilaterally walked away from talks aimed at resolving an ongoi …

Tim Lezard UK, Public (PSI), PCS,

HMRCby Tim Lezard

Senior HM Revenue and Customs officials are accused of an “orchestrated plot” to undermine the PCS following the leak of a top level memo.

The revelation comes after HMRC had unilaterally walked away from talks aimed at resolving an ongoing dispute over job cuts and office closures.

The strategy paper, written for HMRC’s executive committee, outlines plans to try to isolate the union that represents 50,000 HMRC staff, around three quarters of the workforce.

The memo states HMRC’s senior management believes its “business interests” are best served by an approach that “reduces the influence of the unions”.

It sets out a plan to “marginalise PCS” and says “further proactive measures targeted at key union activists” would be considered.

The union has accused the department’s most senior civil servants of acting politically to stifle opposition to cuts at a time when even the government’s own modest estimates acknowledge the amount the exchequer loses in uncollected tax is rising.

Recent research for the union by tax expert Richard Murphy suggests tax evasion alone could now cost our economy up to £80 billion a year.

If nothing is done to arrest the rise, Murphy estimates it could top £100 billion by 2018.

The union is calling on HMRC to confirm it will abandon this strategy immediately and re-engage with its officials and representatives.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This orchestrated plot to undermine a union that represents three quarters of HMRC staff is further evidence of the creeping politicisation of the civil service.

“Collecting even a fraction of the tens of billions of pounds a year that is lost to our economy through tax evasion and avoidance would change the debate about public spending overnight and this is what HMRC should be focusing on.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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