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Revenue and Customs workers strike

HM Revenue and Customs workers in Newcastle have gone on strike.

Workers at the HMRC office in Longbenton are among 50,000 PCS Union members across the country walking out in protest against job cuts.

The union said 30,000 jobs have been axed since 2005 and a further 10,000 are set to go, 'undermining' efforts to investigate schemes such as the one used by comedian Jimmy Carr, which sparked a political row last week.

It is sickening to see millionaires in the cabinet wringing their hands about the immorality of tax avoidance when it is their lack of political will to act that means we lose tens of billions of pounds every year.

The case for investment in our public services as an alternative to austerity could not be more obvious than it is in HMRC. Yet the government wants to cut 10,000 more jobs from the department, letting the wealthy tax dodgers off the hook and punishing the rest of us for a recession we did not cause.

– Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary

An spokesman from HM Revenue & Customs said the strike action was 'disappointing' and everything is being done to minimise disruption to customers. The government agency is looking to talk to the PCS union to address their concerns.


Tax increase blasted

A taxpayers campaign group has criticised Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for proposing to increase council tax.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has blasted the local authority for proposing a 3.5 per cent rise.

A spokesman for the TPA said: "Those politicians proposing rises in the region have decided to increase the burden on local families."Since 2001-02, Stockton-On-Tees residents have seen their council tax bills increase by 39 per cent, the watchdog added.

A spokesman for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council said: "Stockton's council tax for the coming year will be the third lowest in the North East and we have an outstanding record of sound financial management and good, value for money services."

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