Thursday, 12 November 2015

HMRC confirms plan to close dozens of offices

HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed that it plans to shrink from 170 tax offices across the country to 13 regional centres.
The tax-collecting department, which employs 58,000 full-time equivalent workers, said its current network was an outdated legacy of the 1960s and 1970s and would be scrapped as part of a ten-year modernisation programme.
It said it would now bring its workforce together in 13 large, modern regional centres equipped with digital infrastructure and training facilities. The announcement confirmed earlier reports. The plan aims to save £100m a year by 2025.
The centres will be in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Stratford and Croydon. The first will open in 2016-17 with the rest following between 2017 and 2021.
HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: "HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.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 on the minority who try to cheat the system."
But the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said the cuts would pose a "significant threat" to the operation of HMRC as well as the working lives of staff.
HMRC did not say by how much the size of the workforce would be reduced. But it expects the majority of staff to be able to move from their current offices to a regional centre.
It said it was phasing the move over ten years in order to minimise redundancies, but added that it did aim to have fewer staff in the future.