10 January 2017
We have repeated our demand that the proposals are immediately halted to allow for parliamentary and public scrutiny, in light of the National Audit Office's findings.
The plans announced in November 2015, which would mean a move to 13 regional centres, are already expected to cost more and will lead to large areas of the country being miles from a tax office.
In a damning report published today, the NAO says:
Publishing ‘HMRC: building an uncertain future’ at the end of last year we said the plans should be stopped so MPs could fully consider them and so the public could be properly consulted.
Our report included survey responses from staff that showed 73% thought the closures would have a negative impact on HMRC’s ability to collect tax and more than half said they would damage the department’s efforts to clamp down on avoidance and evasion.
Commenting on today's NAO report, our general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “With costs rising and the cracks beginning to show, it is now imperative that HMRC halts these plans and allows MPs and the public to have their say.
“Cutting thousands of HMRC staff in recent years has hit the services it provides to the public, yet the department and this Tory government are ploughing ahead with poorly thought through plans that would mean thousands more job cuts.”
Following the publication of the report, which mentions HMRC's plans to close 137 offices by 2021, shadow chancellor John McDonnell asked an urgent question today in House of Commons on the HMRC estate and described the department's plans as an "emerging disaster."
He rightly called on the minister to halt the plans, end the job cuts and "come back with a realistic plan to fully resource HMRC."
This is on the same day that the influential parliamentary public accounts committee invited submissions for an evidence session about the HMRC estate on 25 January.
Updated at 1.06pm on 10 January.