Yesterday the Government announced the closure of 93 tax offices with the loss of 3,400 jobs.
Earlier this year, the TUC published a report The Missing Billions, penned by Richard Murphy, which showed that the Government lost at least £25bn of tax revenue through evasion.
As we all know, unemployment is rising steeply at the moment. So, here's the question: why at a time of rising unemployment and constrained Government budgets - and with HMRC not having the resources to collect the tax owed - would the Government throw 3,400 tax officials onto dole queues?
As Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS - which represents staff in HMRC, said:
"Job cuts are already damaging the ability of HMRC to function and undermining public confidence in the department. Office closures and job cuts will do nothing to tackle the £21.5 billion worth of uncollected tax and £25 billion lost through tax evasion."
"As the recession deepens and people become more reliant on public services, the department and the government should stop adding to the growing number of unemployed and call a halt to the office closure and job cuts programme."
John McDonnell MP, Chair of the PCS Parliamentary Group, added:
"At a time like this, it is absurd to be laying off staff - especially those who help collect taxes". Indeed.