Stuart McDonald MP has this week condemned the UK Government’s plan to close the HMRC tax office in Cumbernauld. This comes after a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found that the UK Government’s proposals were ‘unrealistic’, would mean thousands of job losses and could cost up to £600 million more than initially forecast.
The UK Government announced in November 2015 that it would close 137 local offices, including Cumbernauld, and replace these with 13 regional HMRC tax office centres in the hope of saving millions of pounds. However, the NAO report suggests that HMRC officials are now revaluating the scheme.
During an urgent debate in Westminster Mr McDonald asked how the UK Government could justify closing the Cumbernauld HMRC in light of this report, stating: “Cumbernauld tax office already ticks all the boxes in terms of what HMRC apparently seeks in a regional centre: it is the right size and has experienced staff and an excellent location. So what on earth is the point of closing it, disrupting staff and damaging communities?”
Responding, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison MP, declared that she had held a number of conversations specifically about the Cumbernauld site, and will write to Mr McDonald with further details.
Commenting Stuart McDonald MP said:
“Cumbernauld tax office, by the UK Government’s own measures, meets all the key criteria for a successful regional centre, with experienced staff and an excellent location in Central Scotland.
“It makes absolutely no sense for the UK Government to close the tax office in Cumbernauld, a decision which will cause significant disruption to employees and damage the local community.
“The overall programme is bad for staff, bad for communities and bad for taxpayers and should be abandoned.”