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£136 million a year on missed calls to HMRC, at taxpayers’ expense.

Last year £136 million of taxpayer’s money was spent on delayed or unanswered calls to the HM Revenue and Customs. The National Audit Office (NAO) reported that delays cost customers £33m in call charges while they waited for HMRC to answer the phone and the estimated value of customer time while they waited was £103m.

It was said that 20 million calls to the HMRC hotlines were not picked up at all in 2011. Those who did reach an adviser were also waiting longer at an average of 282 seconds, compared to a mere 107 seconds in 2009/10.

In Q1 2012 a staggering 6.5 million people were left on hold for more than 10 minutes. In the first quarter of this year, some 6.5 million people were left holding on for longer than 10 minutes. The NAO did however report some signs of improvement with the pickup rate recently increasing just short of 30% from that of 2010/11.

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