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Treasury happy to cut workers collecting tax

David Gauke's observations on the morality of paying tradesmen cash for a discount fails to consider the possibility that those involved might be trying their best to minimise their exposure to the doubtful moral standards of the big banks (Comment, July 25).

I am a retired inspector of taxes who worked for many years in a team investigating tradesmen thought to be providing less than honest information to the Inland Revenue.

Our jobs were universally acknowledged to be hugely cost-effective, the level of tax, interest and penalties recovered dwarfing the costs of our employment.

As a minister in the Treasury, Mr Gauke should know that total staffing levels in HMRC are planned to fall to 56,000 by 2015 from 97,000 in 2005.

I wonder what his moral assessment might be of a government which, to achieve 'savings', cuts staff known for productivity at a time when their retention would more than pay for itself and bring a welcome fiscal boost to the Treasury.

BARRY BUTLER

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