Fewer HMRC staff are in the office than in lockdown

Fewer HMRC staff are in the office than in lockdown as 95 per cent work remotely for part of the week, figures show

  •  Figures come after watchdog unconvinced by plan to improve poor service

Almost every tax office member of staff now works remotely for part of the week, official figures show, with fewer people in the office than during lockdown.

Around 95 per cent of staff at HM Revenue and Customs work away from the office at least once a week – the equivalent of 19 out of 20 workers.

That is higher than in the first Covid-19 lockdown, when the figure was closer to 92 per cent, after then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay at home to avoid spreading the infection.

Both numbers are up considerably on the one-third (35 per cent) of staff who worked remotely at least one day a week in 2019.

The figures come after a Freedom of Information Act request seen by the Mail.

Around 95 per cent of HMRC staff work remotely at least once a week – more than at the height of the pandemic

It comes after the spending watchdog said it was unconvinced by plans to address the department’s ‘unacceptable’ customer service

It follows the scathing findings of the Commons Public Accounts Committee earlier this year, when the spending watchdog said it was unconvinced plans to address HMRC’s ‘unacceptable’ customer service would sustainably reduce demand or deal with the poor level of service quickly enough.

An HMRC spokesman said: ‘There is no link between our customer service performance and working from home. All our staff are held to the same standards whether they are working from an HMRC building or from home.

‘We are encouraging people to use our highly-rated and easy to use online services wherever possible. This will ensure our expert advisors are available to help those who need one-to-one support – those with complex queries, the digitally excluded, the particularly vulnerable.’

Some ministers have been highly critical of Whitehall civil servants not turning up to the office.

Earlier this summer Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin signalled the end of working from home for civil servants, telling them their Whitehall offices should be the ‘default’.

He told the Commons there were ‘real benefits’ in being in the same working environment as one another, and said the Government was ‘encouraging people’ back to the office.

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