For three days now mornings, afternoons,and evenings I've tried to phone HMRC with a query about my recently received self-assessment tax form. Despite what must now add up to an hour of phone time, I've failed to get through.
I don't ever remember a response time this bad. I don't blame the Helpline staff of HM Revenue & Customs whom in the past I have found very helpful but rather the Government's manpower cuts, which has prompted their union the Public and Commercial Services Union to call for strike action.
It's no use the recorded message, which intersperses the queasy electronic music telling me to go online; my problem originates from an online exchange with the tax office. I need another human being at the end of the phone to sort out the difficulty.
The Coalition having rattled the rich with its tax policies seems determined to alienate the rest of us by undermining HMRC even before George Osborne's dodgy Budget.
There's no sense attacking the civil service body dedicated to collecting the taxes, which go towards the bridging the deficit. Unless the squeeze on HMRC is some cack-handed dodge to introduce privatisation by the backdoor.
The PCS ballot starts on April 24th with the aim of commencing industrial action in early June. I hope for its members' jobs and my nerves some accommodation can be reached before then.