Priti raises concerns about HMRC performance and customer service levels
Priti Patel, MP for Witham, has raised concerns about the current performance of HMRC and its level of customer service, in a letter to Treasury Ministers, following a number of cases and issues highlighted by constituents due to the closure of the self-assessment helpline until September.
HMRC is currently undertaking a pilot temporary closure of the self-assessment helpline, moving advisers to other areas, until it re-opens on the 4th September. The stated aim of this pilot is to free up HMRC advisors to help with more urgent queries, or to assist those who cannot access digital services.
However, concerns have been raised regarding the impact of this reduction in service, with the replacement online webchat services not being able to adequately respond to customer enquiries.
One constituent had highlighted their recent experience trying to obtain urgent information needed to resolve a payment demand. The online assistant would not allow them to make actual personal contact, instead only providing links to standard questions and responses. Calls to the online complaints helpdesk resulted in the customer being repeatedly told to type in ‘I want to speak to an adviser’, but to no avail.
Priti said: “Given the overall performance of HMRC, particularly based on the volume of casework I have been receiving from constituents who have raised issues about contacting HMRC, it is very clear that this pilot closure of the self-assessment helpline urgently needs reviewing.
“My self-employed constituents are being let down by a failing service which is impacting upon local businesses who are the backbone of our local economy. I have raised my concerns directly with Treasury Ministers on the impact this helpline closure is having on constituents and raised serious concerns about the service provision provided by HMRC.
“It is shocking to think that while the Government speaks in support of the self-employed and small businesses, the machinery of the same Government through HMRC is falling down when it comes to delivering a reliable, consistent and professional service to the very taxpayers who are also paying for this service.”