Treasury grants HMRC £51 million to improve helplines

The Treasury has allocated an additional £51m to improve HMRC's helpline service, aiming to boost the current 66.6% call response rate to 85%. Financial Secretary Nigel Huddleston announced the funding in a parliamentary statement, highlighting the urgent need for better performance following widespread dissatisfaction.

Out of 2.9m attempts in February alone, only 66.6% of calls were answered, with 650,000 abandoned. Furthermore, after lengthy waits, nearly a million taxpayers sought answers through HMRC's webchat.

This funding boost follows a controversial decision to close most helplines, which was quickly reversed after a backlash from taxpayers, professional bodies, and the Chancellor. HMRC's CEO, Jim Harra, expressed surprise at the intense public reaction to the closures during a Treasury Committee hearing.

Huddlestone said:

"The Government is providing HMRC with £51m in new funding to bring HMRC's phoneline service back up to the published target of 85% of calls to HMRC advisers being answered.

"The additional funding enables HMRC to meet the performance standards on its phone lines that its customers expect, while continuing the transition to a digital-first model of tax administration.

"The Government is fully committed to providing HMRC with the resources it needs to meet the needs of all its customers, and will continue to do so."

Talk to us about your finances.