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HMRC Closures — [Philip Davies in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 2:54 pm on 2nd November 2017.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 2:54 pm, 2nd November 2017

The corollary to that argument is that we might better close the tax gap by opening another several hundred offices. I do not think anyone would argue with that. It does not necessarily follow that more offices mean more tax collected. I think quite the reverse, as I have explained. We need centres of excellence with a critical mass of people who are well trained and where there is good access to the labour market and the skills that we need; where people work collaboratively and all the technology is right; and where they operate, as we do in this country, a risk-based approach to clamping down on tax avoidance, which involves a lot of data and analysis from the centre. That is much better done from a well-resourced organisation of critical mass than by a larger number of smaller offices, many of which operate in a manner that is more manual, for example, than computer-driven, and that needs to be changed.