Cumbernauld Tax Office had one of the biggest strike turnouts in the UK

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 17:31 BST on Day Date Month 2012.

Cumbernauld’s HMRC Tax Office had one of the biggest strike turnouts in the whole United Kingdom, according to the Public and Commercial Services union.

Yesterday’s industrial action is “…over the government's plan to axe a further 10,000 HMRC jobs, on top of 30,000 that have gone since the department was formed in 2005,” according a statement on the PCS website.

PCS declared the national strike reports as “significant” as reports from around the UK showed that around 75% of the public services union's 55,000 HMRC members went on strike, with support in some offices as high as 97% of members.

Among the top performers were Aberdeen 83%, Dundee 91%, Inverness 95% and East Kilbride 97%; North Wales offices 95%, Cardiff 93%, Carmarthen 85%, and Swansea 80%; Bootle 96%, Chesterfield 90%, Dover 76%, Portsmouth 75%, Stoke 90% and Cumbernauld 98%.

The Public and Commercial Services union has said that the results were "hugely significant," as the industrial action fell on the day that Prime Minister David Cameron announced sweeping changes to the welfare system, including a suggestion of scrapping Housing Benefits for under twenty-fives, indicating that they should “live with mum and dad.”

PCS has since attacked Mr Cameron’s welfare cuts, reading in an online statement that, “Instead of tackling the tens of billions of pounds lost to our public finances every year through tax evasion and avoidance, misters are choosing to punish people on benefits for economic problems they did not cause.”

The statement adds: “Last week Mr Cameron described comedian Jimmy Carr's use of a tax avoidance scheme as "morally wrong", but his government is pressing ahead with cuts that will undermine HMRC's efforts to tackle this kind of abuse.”

PCS and local PCS office Secretary John Miller have both pointed to a public accounts committee announce, in May, which said that the 30’000 jobs lost at HMRC since the department’s creation have prevented HMRC from collecting an additional £1.1billion in tax, with committee chair Margaret Hodge declaring: "The department must consider whether further staff cuts will deliver value for money for the taxpayer."

Commenting, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It is hugely significant that this strike is taking place on the day the prime minister is threatening more welfare cuts, because it shows his government prefers to target people on benefits instead of going after the tax dodgers.

"The case for investment instead of more cuts, as an alternative to austerity, could not be clearer than in HMRC where the money we collect funds all the other public services that we all rely on, and provides support to people when they need it."