20 April 2012
They were all keen to hear about the office closures and cuts to HMRC staff especially with the government claiming to be getting tough on tax avoidance.
PCS represents over 55,000 HMRC members. On 25 January HMRC announced to staff that they have made a decision to close nine offices during 2013/14 and the proposal to close another seventeen offices in 2014/15. This comes after 200 offices had already been closed over the last three years and is part of its drive to cut staff numbers by 10,000 during this spending period.
MPs like Julie Elliott, David Wright, Julie Hilling and Penny Mourdant had particular concerns about offices in or close to their constituencies that were closing. However, as the MP’s learned at the briefing, it's an issue that impacts on all MPs as even in areas not affected by current closures there is still downsizing of staff.
The Right Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman MP attended and later wrote to PCS to say: “The information given was detailed and vivid and was of great assistance in helping me to continue campaigning.
At the briefing, PCS raised our concern that no ministerial statement was made to the House about a decision that affected almost 4,000 staff and that HMRC issued no public statement.
PCS believes that closing offices and cutting jobs will do further damage to local economies that need investment, not more cuts. Having tax offices based in local communities also shows the importance and value of tax collection to our economy and public services, as well as providing a face to face service for people who cannot, or do not want to, use the internet or phone a call centre.
At the briefing, PCS campaigners provided a map and listed the offices where the closures will be.
Pete Lockhart, PCS national officer said: “Continuing to cut jobs in HMRC, the area responsible for overseeing the tax system, at a time the Chancellor has admitted to being shocked by the amount of tax that is lost through tax avoidance, thought to be £25bn annually, does not make economic sense.
“We are calling on the government to reverse the significant cuts being made to HMRC to ensure a fair and efficient tax system. One key step towards this aim would be to ensure that the department retains its local presence by keeping offices open.”
We are looking for support from MPs through the tabling of questions and by taking up issues regarding local closures with HMRC and the exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke MP.
We would recommend MPs seek adjournment debates on offices that are threatened with closure in their area and that they visit our members in these workplaces to talk to them about their concerns.
|Birmingham, Norfolk House||54|
|Bristol, Norfolk House||213|
|Hull (Immingham), Custom House||7|
|Irvine, Marress House||45|
|Leicester, Citygate House||124|
|Livingston, Pentland House||220|
|London, New Wing, Somerset House||265|
|Newcastle, Quorum Contact centre||647|
|Northampton, Northgate House||145|
|Norwich, St Cuthbert's House||72|
|Peterborough, Clifton House (but retain an Enquiry Centre)||133|
|Plymouth, Crownhill Court||76|
|Poole, St John's House||67|
|Portsmouth, Wingfield House||510|
|Slough, 102-104 Farnham Road||101|
|Stockport, Archer House*||415|
|Stroud, Merrywalks House||53|
|Sunderland, Gilbridge House||213|
|Sunderland, Shackleton House||103|
|Telford, Kelsall House||124|
|Twickenham, Bridge House||51|
|Washington, Weardale House||181|
|Wembley, Valiant House||40|
|Wick, Government Buildings||20|
|Wigan, Lingate House||69|
*The intention is to find alternative accommodation for about 150 compliance staff in Stockport.