The saying goes that there are only two things certain in life – death and taxes, but not a job for life at the HMRC as thousands of staff are facing job cuts as a result of cutbacks.
137 local tax offices are set to be closed by 2027 and replaced with regional centres which the government hopes will reduce costs.
The HMRC has come in for criticism in recent years for not doing enough to tackle tax avoidance and cutbacks are unlikely to help the organisation in its pursuit of aggressive tax avoiders.
This of course will have interesting implications for the national purse if the HMRC has reduced resources to gather tax revenue, which are vital if the country is to begin to make progress in paying off its substantial debts.
Call handling has been one of the HMRC’s biggest failings in recent years. A quarter of the 50 million calls the organisation receives each year are not answered despite it having the largest virtual call centre in the world.
The leaked announcement will come as unwelcome news not only for staff just before Christmas but also for business owners who may might have hoped the service could only improve.
The new regional centres will be in Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stratford and Croydon.