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December 2014

LRD produces report on the impact of austerity on tax collection for EPSU

The Labour Research Department has produced a report on tax and austerity for the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU).

The report shows that European and indeed world leaders continue to say that ensuring that all taxpayers pay their fair share is a high priority. They also accept that there is a gap between what should be collected and what is collected, which could be as much as 1,000 billion.

However, although the European Commission has made recommendations to at least 15 countries on the need to improve tax compliance, the number of employees available to carry out these recommendations has been cut sharply, as the report shows.

Overall, 24 out of 30 states (EU plus Iceland and Norway) cut employment in tax authorities between 2008 and 2012, and, in the countries where comparable figures are available, a total of 56,865 jobs have been lost. This is equivalent to 9.6% of the 593,000 that were there at the start of the period. Two countries, Greece and the UK, cut employment in tax authorities by more than a fifth in four years, and a third, Latvia, cut it by 19.8%. In total 12 countries experienced a loss of more than 10% of jobs in their tax authorities over just four years.

These staff cuts are having an impact on morale in the tax authorities, with particularly high levels of unhappiness in the UK. The shortage of staff has also led to a failure to collect the taxes that are due and damaged the service provided to the public.

This the the second report on this topic that LRD has produced for EPSU.

The full report is available to download at www.epsu.org/IMG/pdf/Impact_of_austerity_on_tax_collection_fin_rep_EN.pdf


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