Hundreds show support for PCS campaign against HMRC cuts

Hundreds of supporters and dozens of MPs showed their support for the PCS campaign against HMRC office closures and job cuts.

The rally outside parliament  on 1 March to show solidarity with HMRC members was attended by hundreds of people, many holding PCS flags, who braved the wet weather. They heard from shadow shancellor of the exchequer John McDonnell MP, Chris Stephens MP (the new PCS parliamentary group chair) and our general secretary, Mark Serwotka.

All spoke of their opposition to the department’s destructive plans, which threaten thousands of jobs and aim to close all 160 HMRC offices and move them out of towns into regional centres miles away from current locations.

In November 2015, HMRC announced its plans to shut all its offices and open 13 regional hubs and 4 specialist centres putting the future of thousands of staff at risk given many staff will not be able to relocate to new regional hubs due to them being outside reasonable daily travel.

These proposals pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff. The threat is so severe, we believe, that as well as entering into genuine negotiations, HMRC must launch a high-profile public consultation and allow its proposals to be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny.

Local presence vital

MPs and tax experts have previously supported our view that a visible, local HMRC presence is essential to maintaining confidence in our tax system and ensure taxpayers comply with their obligations. The proposals under the HMRC ‘plan’ called “Building our future” would not only be absolutely devastating for HMRC and the people currently employed by the deparment but also for the provision of local services.

The shadow chancellor told the lunchtime rally: “The last thing you do if you want to close the tax gap is close offices and cut staff.”

Mark said the government should invest in HMRC to “cut the tax gap not workers’ jobs.” He also said that cuts to HMRC were “part of a picture of cuts across the civil service.”

Following the rally we had our best ever parliamentary briefing session inside the House of Commons with more than 80 MPs in attendance. PCS members, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles, were able to explain to their MP the impact of the attacks on their livelihoods and communities.

We have also asked MPs to sign a House of Commons early day motion that calls on the government to suspend the closures and hold a comprehensive consultation.

Support the campaign

Attend our Budget Day demonstration – Wednesday 16 March, assemble 12.30pm, South Park.

RSVP on Facebook here and on 38 Degrees here.

Sign and share the petition against the closures here

Tweet to #Battle4Bootle and #KeepJobsLocal

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Invite your MP to the PCS drop-in session

PCS met with Meg Hillier MP, the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, to press the union’s concerns regarding the HMRC proposals.

PCS have organised a drop in briefing session for MPs to take place 1st March at 2.30pm in parliament and in addition to that, the PCS parliamentary group have managed to secure cross party support for an Early Day Motion (EDM) for our members.

More than 40 MPs’ offices have already been in contact with the union’s campaigns department and 25 have confirmed they will attend. Others have asked for more information.

There will also be a lunchtime “rally” at 1pm outside parliament on 1st March.

Use the PCS website to invite your MP to the briefing meeting.