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Quite so, quite so

And because they also, by and large, worked locally they had the knowledge to react locally.

Tax inspectors that is.

Because just as centrally organised, target driven, big business does not understand entrepreneurial spirit – which is the preserve of the more effective small enterprise that as a result makes better returns on almost all measures that can be used (and even higher returns on those that can’t be measured) than big business so did local tax offices actually perform better than centrally controlled big ones.

But those who HMRC have engaged from big business have not understood that. Or the importance of relationships. Or the importance of location. Or the importance of local knowledge. And those are very good reasons why we have a tax gap.

Bring back the local and the discretion that went with it was the message I heard, loud and clear. Anyone listening at HMRC?

Quite so.

It is of course slightly worrying to find myself agreeing with one R. Murphy. But he is, in this case, correct.

And as he\’s just shown, so was Hayek. Knowledge is local, you cannot plan things rigidly from the centre because of that locality of knowledge.

So while Ritchie is indeed correct here his correctness here rather destroys just about everything else he says about how the State should be doing everything for us.

Pity that really.

4 thoughts on “Quite so, quite so”

  1. The local network of small tax offices has been wiped out directly on the orders of Brown from 2004 onwards. You could go into your local office or phone them to get advice or complain. As soon as Brown said he wanted rid of 100,00 civil servants (which he could have done rapidly by not replacing those who left across the Civil Service)and decided to merge the Revenue with Customs(a hopeless mismatch that “Blind Date”at its worst would be hard pressed to equal)things went down hill. Local offices would have hundreds of phone calls a day and 60 to 100 personal visits from local taxpayers who could walk in and be seen anytime during opening hours. First they diverted calls to the useless call centres and with those ratholes sent up, the staff in local offices were told that, unless the taxpayer at the counter insisted on a personal interview they were to be told to go over to the banks of telephones and talk to half-trained idiots at the call centre (when they were staff with decades of experience 10 feet away who were forbidden to help them). Pretty soon it dawned on people that they might as well phone from home to talk to idiots rather than trail down to their local office to talk to the same idiots(even thothe calls from the office were paid for by the public purse not the caller). Those who insisted on talking to someone in the office were not allowed to be seen when they first arrived (even though staff were available) but had to be given appointments for another day. In a matter of a couple of years busy counters were run down to 6 or 8 people a week coming in for appointments and trained staff had nothing to do but point the rest of the visitors at the phone. These were deliberate tactics used by management to run down local offices so they could then say that they are not needed as no one visits them.
    The bosses spent a fortune on IT systems that can put work into any office in the UK but insisted that all work must be centralised in large offices and that staff in small offices had to be forced out/paid off one way or another.
    Just to comment on Ritchie’s Pro-Union stance, PCS, the civil service trade Union spewed out a lot of hot air about the above but did nothing useful. If they had blacked the above changes and been willing to take industrial action to stop their own members being forced to do themselves out of a job we might still have a network of local offices instead of 150+ of them having gone or going.

  2. “And as he’s just shown, so was Hayek. Knowledge is local, you cannot plan things rigidly from the centre because of that locality of knowledge.”
    You could of course plan everything rigidly from borough or town council level and still meet the requirement of knowledge being local – I don’t believe this would work- BTW

  3. Showed this to some friends who work for HMRC and they enthusiastically endorsed every word.

    Then they saw Mr Eck’s comment, and heartily agreed with that too…

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