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Welcome to the June 2024 Newsletter from Certax Accounting

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of a General Election on 4 July, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has stated that the next government needs to partner with business to help boost the UK economy.

Meanwhile, a report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) recently revealed that taxpayers spent the equivalent of 800 years on hold to HMRC. Funding issues and a drive to reduce costs have led to poor call-handling performance, the NAO found.

Next government will need to partner with business

Whichever party forms the next UK government will need to partner with business to fire up the UK economy, said the CBI.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently called a General Election for 4 July, firing the starting gun on six weeks of campaigning.

The UK's business groups responded to the announcement with their agendas for the next government.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Executive, said: 'This General Election needs to be about how our political leaders will get the UK economy firing on all cylinders and deliver sustainable growth for the benefit of our society.

'Whoever forms our next government can't tackle these momentous challenges alone – they will have to partner with business.

'Our members want to see politicians having grown-up conversations about how we foster the investment we need to have a labour market which delivers higher living standards, to accelerate our transition to net zero and make the UK an attractive place to run and grow business.'

Martin McTague, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: 'There will be fierce competition for their votes at this election, and those competing will need a convincing plan to bring down the cost of doing business, support small businesses to grow, and create the right conditions to encourage new businesses to start up. As the campaign begins, each party will need to put forward a clear small business offer or manifesto.'

Taxpayers spend total of 800 years waiting to speak to HMRC

UK taxpayers spent the equivalent of 800 years on hold to HMRC in 2022/23, according to a report published by the NAO.

The report found that funding pressures, job cuts and a push to reduce costs by encouraging people to manage their tax affairs online had all led to a poor call-handling performance by HMRC.

The average time spent waiting on the phone to speak to an adviser in the 11 months to February 2024 was almost 23 minutes - well above the five minutes recorded in 2018/19.

Altogether taxpayers spent 7 million hours, or 798 years, on hold to HMRC in 2022/23, according to the report.

Customer service is in a 'declining spiral' at HMRC, which had not met its goals for responding to taxpayer correspondence or telephone calls for several years, the NAO added.

The government has recently announced an extra £51 million in funding to help HMRC improve its telephone helplines.

Gareth Davies, Head of the NAO, said: 'HMRC's telephone and correspondence services have been below its target service levels for too long.

'While many of its digital services work well, they have not made enough of a difference to customers, some of whom have been caught in a declining spiral of service pressures and cuts.

HMRC has also not achieved planned efficiencies.

'HMRC must allow more time for these services to bed in and understand the difference they make before adjusting staffing levels.'



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