HMRC staff will have noted with concern the announcement about extra funding cuts in “non protected Whitehall departments” yesterday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
To quote from the BBC News
The government's remaining 30% stake in the Royal Mail is to be sold and £3bn cut from government spending this year, George Osborne has said.
He needs to find a further £30bn of savings over the next three years, including … £13bn from cuts to government departments.
Mr Osborne said £3bn in efficiency savings had been achieved by belt-tightening in non-protected government departments
HMRC has suffered a reduction in immediate funding of £80 million for the current fiscal year.
Members will also wish to note the following story in this context
On the HMRC intranet HMRC CEO Lin Homer announced to staff the budget reduction and the comment , quoted selectively , that
There will inevitably be impacts on what we will be able to achieve and there is little prospect that we can absorb these cuts without some business impacts.
The BBC news site also stated :
Mr Osborne will set out full details of future spending cuts in a Budget statement on 8 July.
We have repeatedly said there is no justification for further budget cuts to HMRC. Efficiencies have and continue to be made that increase the productivity of HMRC without the need to impact on frontline services be they “customer facing” through vital support for taxpayers or those that will adversely effect our Enforcement and Compliance activity. It is quite concerning to note that the immediate cuts cannot be absorbed in further savings to and from processes via the HMRC Change budget ( leaving aside some of the questionable issues in the outline HMRC strategic future – BoF – for one moment and that considerable savings must and should be noted from recent directorate changes and the urgent need to reform the inefficient PMR system ) the statement goes further .
It is clear that senior management did , as they should , argue that HMRC is vital to UK prosperity and that did , to some extent , limit the impact on HMRC especially when you look at the impact on other departments. ( for a full list please visit : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33004664 - scroll to the end of the report ).
But what is equally clear is that the robust business case against such reductions was unable to convince HM Treasury to not make such a reduction. The question has to be posed – why ?
Furthermore it makes clear that the already strained customer service operations are to be protected – correctly so even leaving the case for increased resources and solutions that are required in this area of HMRC business to one side – again for the moment. The inference is that the reductions must impact Enforcement and Compliance in the main. If you then take the comment extracted above from the intranet it is reasonable to assume we are entering into the issue of staff reductions. The incomprehensibility of this is breathtaking.
All compliance staff know the impact of what they do is essential and vital work on behalf of UK plc. All compliance staff know that we are all working hard to increase our effort and effectiveness in this area and that much remains to be done. We are not going to list in this public domain all the directly linked compliance issues that require improving ( or is some cases deconstructing and reassembling ). Both you and we know what they are and that they must be the subject of extremely robust internal debate first and foremost rather than bland public announcements or providing rule breakers with valuable detail.
What is of even greater concern, if that is possible, is the immediate future given the knowledge that this may just be the first budget cut to HMRC. We have warned members repeatedly on this website of the Budget and Spending Review to follow the General Election. It is more vital than ever that you have a representational body that knows what has to be done, are able to do that because we know the work and have the ability to actively and robustly challenge with the required knowledge and detail the incomprehensible and inexplicable damage to HMRC, the staff and the UK from such budget reductions.