PCS members at HMRC George Stephenson House in Stockton-on-Tees discussed their concerns about the proposed closure of their office today (19) with shadow Treasury minister Anneliese Dodds.
Anneliese gave a commitment that Labour would review HMRC’s Building Our Future programme, including the office closures, following a general election. Together with Stockton South MP, Dr Paul Williams, she committed to continuing to campaign against the closure of the Stockton office, arguing that areas like Teesside can ill-afford to lose both the public services staff provide and local jobs.
Anneliese echoed statements made at the TUC Congress last week by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who committed to a fully-resourced HMRC, focused on local jobs and closing the tax gap if Labour wins the next election.
Contrary to HMRC claims, 93% of staff surveyed by PCS in Stockton are either unwilling or unable to transfer to the proposed regional centre in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Many staff, particularly those with childcare and other family commitments, have real concerns about their futures if HMRC closure plans go ahead.
Unfortunately, HMRC management refused requests by the MPs to talk to staff in the office. Despite this PCS members braved the inclement weather to raise their concerns with Anneliese and Paul outside the building at the meeting organised by PCS HMRC Stockton and North Yorkshire branch secretary Gordon Rowntree.