TORIES SACRIFICE LOCAL HMRC OFFICES AS BREXIT CONSUMES RESOURCES
SNP MSP Linda Fabiani has said that the UK Government’s plans to close HMRC offices in Scotland are “wrong-headed” and damaging to HMRC operations and local communities.
Leading a debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, the MSP demanded that the Tories heed the warnings coming from local HMRC staff and the Public and Commercial Services Union report, that HMRC should “Stay in East Kilbride”.
The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts’ report earlier this year criticised the Tories’ lack of robust business planning ahead of the decision to base regional HMRC hubs in ‘expensive cities’, and called for a complete rethink of the local closures that carry a high risk of disruption to HMRC’s core business of collecting tax and serving customers.
An East Kilbride Task Force representative, former Councillor Chris Thompson has made clear that East Kilbride stands to lose 2700 people contributing to the local economy and between £16.3 million and £30.7 million from its economy.
Speaking after her debate, MSP for East Kilbride Linda Fabiani said:
“The PCS report makes clear that there has been no consultation with HMRC staff about these closures, no real attempt to question the logistics of relocating to regional offices, no recognition of the expertise that will be lost or the dearth of experience that will result.
“The Tories want to get rid of an HMRC office that has been in East Kilbride since 1969 in order to digitise and save money, and yet the Head of HMRC says the authority may need to hire an extra 5,000 staff to deal with logjam at the border because of Brexit. Meanwhile the Department for Exiting the EU has quadrupled in size in the course of a year.
“This all against a backdrop of Tory pledges to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, a Tory manifesto pledge to keep jobs in local communities and a recognition across the board that aspirations for digitisation are unrealistic and potentially damaging to many people.
“With one in four jobs in East Kilbride potentially at risk if this closure goes ahead we need to stop this dangerous pattern of Tory cuts.”
You can watch Linda’s debate below: