Government blows £144,000 off professional voice artist for tax helpline

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For the proposed requirement of 1,500 messages, each of which can be up to 100 words, the contract will cost at least almost £100 per message – or a pound for each word spoken.

A woman called ‘Sam’ will be the ‘dedicated voice for all HMRC recordings’ (File photo of voice artist)

Rishi Sunak’s HMRC blew £144,000 on a professional voice artist to read thousands of messages for the government’s tax helpline.

HM Revenue and Customs have signed a three-year contract with London-based agency Mazaru – to provide ‘top-notch’ recordings, and the same voice actor every time.

In the contract documents, HMRC said: ‘We would like to retain the services of the same voice artist to ensure consistency of customer experience’ and ‘continuity of HMRC tone’.

For the proposed requirement of 1,500 messages, each of which can be up to 100 words, the contract will cost at least almost £100 per message – or a pound for each word spoken.

Deputy union leader Angela Rayner called the contract an “obscene waste of taxpayers’ money shows a completely out of touch chancellor”.







As Chancellor Rishi Sunak is ultimately responsible for HMRC spending
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PENNSYLVANIA)


The contract refers to the female artist in question as “Sam” and states that “the supplier must use Sam as the dedicated voice for all HMRC recordings”.

‘Sam’ is required to record messages at short notice, in the event of a change in government policy – or in response to events like the Covid pandemic or Brexit.

And during the Christmas holidays, the company is allowed to use a “substitute” – as long as “Sam” re-registers them in January.

“If Sam is unavailable,” the contract states, “the supplier must provide a voice artist with a similar voice to perform the recordings.

“Once Sam returns, the provider will re-record the messages recorded by the stand in voice artist at their own expense, using Sam.”

Mazaru, the agency, also employs staff in roles such as “Happiness Ninja”, “Tone Maven”, and “Head of Customer Wow”.

HMRC required that “studio production and post-production must include recording, editing, file formatting and pre-delivery quality checks to ensure top-notch audio quality“.

Ms Rayner added: ‘When small business owners ring these lines over the next few weeks, what they will want is urgent help in the face of the crippling effects of Treasury tax hikes, not a vocal artist professional telling them where they are in the queue.

“This is yet another example of why we need Labor’s independent office for value for money to crack down on the disgusting amounts of public money that this Conservative government is wasting on vanity projects.

“The work instead wants to help families struggling with the cost of living crisis, that’s the difference.”

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