PCS have welcomed news that a planned tax office closure in Teesside has been put on the back burner while the government undertakes a review.
Local MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Simon Clarke and Stockton South MP Paul Williams have both been putting pressure on the government to stop George Stephenson house being closed.
HMRC management is intent on pushing through office closures and job cuts, despite calls from PCS since 2016 to halt the ‘Building Our Future’ plans.
Under the plan, the majority of offices are scheduled to close resulting in thousands more jobs being lost jobs by 2021.
This latest intervention from the two MPs helps add weight to our calls to stop office closure plans.
Mr Smith told the Gazette Live: “I absolutely understand why HMRC wants to make savings in the taxpayer interest, but I want HMRC jobs to stay on Teesside and a fair outcome for my constituents who have given years of service.
“At our meeting, Paul and I emphasised that people have built their lives around their jobs and that the additional travel time to Newcastle will represent an impossible barrier for many in terms of regular commuting.
“Although HMRC has pledged to help with travel costs for up to five years after the transition, in practice, lots will leave after 2021.”
Mr Williams also said: “I expect the Minister to conduct a proper impact assessment and will hold him to account for this.
“I'll continue to do my very best to fight against these changes. But my feeling is that the Government are likely to press ahead despite the evidence of harm to Teesside.”
In November 2017, the Minister Mel Stride stated categorially neither he nor the department would conduct socio-economic impact assessments.
HMRC has repeatedly refused to justify its closure plans - to our members or parliament or to the general public.
We have asked to see a business case but these requests have been ignored. The additional pressures on HMRC arising from the country exiting the European Union make it imperative that the closure plans are halted.