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10th January 2017 - Islwyn MP slams HMRC customer service failures

Islwyn MP slams HMRC customer service failuresThe MP for Islwyn, Chris Evans, has slammed a Treasury Minister responding to an Urgent Question in Parliament about a report published today by the National Audit Office on the HMRC Estate.

The National Audit Office report released today noted an admission by HMRC that their original plan to reduce the scale and cost of its estate was ‘unrealistic’ and will cost £600 million more than expected.

Responding to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellisson MP, Mr Evans noted that a previous NAO report found 3 in 10 people who called HMRC gave up before being answered and the average waiting time was 47 minutes.

He asked the minister whether she is confident, even though an NAO report said that for every £1 saved by this change, £4 will go on telephone bills, that it will not see any decline in customer service.

Mr Evans said: ‘Even though HMRC has said their customer service levels have improved, they are still failing customers by their lack of customer service. Over Christmas my wife had to wait over half an hour for an answer.

‘HMRC’s customer service crisis in 2015 was only tackled once thousands of extra staff were employed to cope with demand. Yet under HMRC’s cost-cutting plans, it is hard to see how it aims to maintain its staffing and customer service levels.

‘The Government and HMRC must ensure that they get a grip on customer service levels and do not do anything which threatens recent improvements which they say have been made.’

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