As we know R. Murphy, our favourite retired acountant from Wandsworth, is often employed by the PCS union to tell us why there should be many more taxmen hired.
The PCS union of course being the union for taxmen.
I have no particular problem with this: unions are supposed to work for the benefit of their members and hiring some shill to make bad arguments for your case is part and parcel of that game.
However, it has just occured to me (yes, I know, about 3 years slow here) that there\’s a bit of background that isn\’t being fully explained here.
A few years back Gordon Brown mandated the merging of Customs and Excise and the taxmen to create HMRC. The cynic in me at the time thought that this was really a way to give the taxman the breaking and entering powers that the customs man (and the reason VAT was given to customs to administer was the same) has always had and that no one rationally would want the income tax man to have.
But the stated reason was greater efficiency. Which leads to the thought that under the Great Gordon Brown plan there should be a decline in both the budget and the manpower of the combined offices. This is what greater efficiency means, after all, being able to do the same for less resource consumption.
So what we\’ve actually got here is not a series of complaints about the cyclical swings between the priorities of governments of a different political hue. It\’s not \”Bastard Tories firing taxmen\”. What we\’ve actually got is a much longer running fight against the structural change introduced by Labour.
Stick all the taxmen under one roof and one set of powers and we\’ll need fewer of them and to spend less on them.
Brown may or may not have been right: but that is what PCS and thus Ritchie are fighting against. It\’s the lashing out of a bureaucracy against structural change, nothing more and nothing less.