§ Mr. Nicholas Baker
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied with the speed and efficacy with which tax offices deal with ordinary income tax cases.
§ Mr. Moore
No. Arrears of work have accumulated in some tax offices and some taxpayers are having to wait too long for replies from these offices.
To enable the Inland Revenue to handle its growing work load with greater speed and efficacy I have authorised an increase of 3,500 in the 1988 Inland Revenue manpower target. The total Inland Revenue staff will now reduce from 69,274 at April 1986 to 66,374 at April 1988 instead of 62,874 as previously intended.
The Inland Revenue Staff Federation has agreed to lift its long standing ban on the working of overtime. The 316W overtime will make a significant contribution to getting rid of the backlog of work in the short term and the manpower arrangements should help the Inland Revenue to keep up to date with its work in the longer term. But to ensure that the maximum benefit is obtained from these measures the Inland Revenue is launching a major management initiative to help local offices get on top of the work.
This initiative will include some temporary reductions in administrative functions.
It is hoped that taken together, the manpower easement, the removal of the overtime ban, and the management initiative, will produce early and continuing improvement.