Public Accounts Committee

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The chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs, Lin Homer, has been criticised for overseeing "unacceptable" customer service performance.

She was questioned by the Public Accounts Committee on 28 January 2013, following a critical report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into phone handling by the organisation.

The report in December found that delays in answering phone calls to HMRC cost callers an estimated £136m last year.

The NAO calculated that members of the public spent £33m on call charges while holding on HMRC phone lines in 2011-12, wasting time worth £103m to them.

Some 20 million calls were not picked up at all, the NAO added.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said HMRC's customer service ambitions were "miles below" industry benchmarks, following Ms Homer's claims that they now had 90% of calls answered within five minutes.

However, the chief executive insisted that performance was improving, and said she had made more money available to ensure continued improvement.

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