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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian tax staff strike over proposal to axe jobs

HM revenue and Customs workers in Cumbria were on strike today in protest against proposed job cuts.

Staff at tax offices in Carlisle, Whitehaven, Penrith and Kendal joined colleagues across the country forcing some offices to close and leaving telephone calls unanswered.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) called the strike.

Vivienne Frazer, branch chairwoman in Carlisle, said: “Feelings are running very high.

“They are looking at cutting a further 10,000 jobs on top of the 30,000 that have gone since 2005.

“The Prime Minister made an example of [comedian] Jimmy Carr over the scheme he used to avoid tax but there are an awful lot more people than Jimmy Carr avoiding tax.

“If HM Revenue and Customs don’t have the staff, how are they going to stop them?”

The PCS claims that £120bn is lost every year in tax evasion and avoidance because HMRC does not have enough resources to tackle the problem.

The strike is also in opposition to “creeping privatisation” in the department, which is experimenting with the use of private firms to handle tax credit inquiries. The strike will be followed by other forms of action such as a ban on overtime.

An HM Revenue & Customs spokesman said: “HMRC is disappointed with the decision to strike and will do everything it can to maintain services to the public.

“We are seeking dialogue with the PCS to address their concerns.”

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