Tax office closure confirmed

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 12:34 on 12 November 2015


23-06-2014 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - PCS HMRC Cumbernauld strike, 23 June 2014; 'Stop the cuts' sign.
The cuts have previously been protested. Picture: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media.

HMRC has today confirmed that 13 regional centres throughout the UK will be the future of the tax authority, meaning Cumbernauld will lose its site within years.

The taxman announced what they have dubbed the ‘next step’ in their ten-year modernisation programme, which aims to make HMRC fit for the future, this afternoon.

HMRC says they are committed to high-quality jobs, claiming that the creation of 13 new regional centres over the next five years will deliver that vision. 

In the North East, Newcastle is the preferred site for a regional office, while the North West will have two – one in Manchester and another in Liverpool.

Leeds was named today as the preferred location for a Yorkshire and the Humber centre, while Nottingham will house a regional centre in due course, as will Birmingham, covering the East and West Midlands respectively.

Wales will be served by a single centre in Cardiff, while Belfast will be the future home of HMRC in Northern Ireland.

In the South West, HMRC has announced that Bristol is the city they have their eyes on, while Stratford and Croydon have been named as the sites for the London, South East and East of England region.

Glasgow and Edinburgh have been named as the locations for future regional HMRC sites, in Scotland. 

Today’s move dramatically slashes the number of offices which HMRC has across Britain from 170 to 13 regional sites, affecting around 58,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Announcing the changes today, the tax authority explained that the 170 sites in use today exists as a “legacy” from the 1960s and 1970s. 

“HMRC will bring its employees together in 13 large, modern regional centres, equipped with the digital infrastructure and training facilities needed to build a more highly-skilled workforce to meet the challenges of bringing in more revenue from those evading tax and improving its customer service to the honest majority,” a spokesperson for HMRC said. 

Announcing the shake-up of HMRC sites this afternoon, Lin Homer, HMRC’s Chief Executive, said the organisation is “committed to modern, regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK, with skilled and varied jobs and development opportunities, while also ensuring jobs are spread throughout the UK and not concentrated in the capital.”

She added: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.

“The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents. They will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”

Reacting to this afternoon’s news, Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) called for a parliamentary review.

The union has said that the plans "pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff".

PCS points the statistics which show that since 2010, more than 10,000 jobs have been cut from HMRC, while 250 offices have closed, including the closure of 281 walk-in tax enquiry centres. 

The union says that the latest regionalisation plans would “needlessly put at risk” the “livelihoods of thousands of current employees are being needlessly put at risk.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "No one should be in any doubt that, if implemented, these proposals would be absolutely devastating for HMRC and the people who work there.

"Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent."

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