Number’s up for four tax offices in Leeds

Job losses are feared at HMRC
Job losses are feared at HMRC
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Four tax offices in Leeds have been earmarked for closure as part of a controversial HMRC modernisation programme.

The offices are among a dozen across Yorkshire and the Humber that are due to shut between 2016 and 2021, it was announced today.

HMRC says “most” of the employees at the 12 affected sites will be moved into a new regional centre at an as-yet-unconfirmed location in Leeds.

The offices in Leeds set for the chop are at Castle House and Windsor House in the city centre, Munroe Court in Beeston and Peter Bennett House in Lawnswood.

Nationwide, a total of 137 offices are due to close, with 13 regional centres opening over the next five years.

Unions say they are concerned the shake-up will pose a “significant threat” to the operation of the tax authority and the working lives of staff.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.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 centre in Leeds will bring our staff together in a more modern and cost-effective building in an area with lower rent.

“It will also make a big contribution to the economy of the region, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment to a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”

The closure list for Yorkshire and the Humber also includes offices in Bradford, Grimsby, Harrogate, Hull, Sheffield and York.

Places joining Leeds as homes for the new regional centres include Newcastle, Nottingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Belfast.

HMRC says that, in cases where it is unfeasible for people to make the move to one of the regional centres, it will “do everything it reasonably can” to help them find alternative roles elsewhere in the civil service.

The tax authority currently has 58,000 employees spread over 170 offices across the country, with individual workforces ranging in size from 6,000 to fewer than 10.

Public and Commercial Services union 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.”