REPORTS that Huddersfield’s tax office is to close have been confirmed.
The Examiner revealed on Monday that the Crown House office on Southgate is to close by 2011 after documents were leaked.
Now HM Revenue and Customs have confirmed the reports and published the outcome of a review of its offices in the Leeds/Bradford/Shipley ‘urban centre’, which started in November last year.
The Huddersfield office will be axed, affecting 130 employees, along with Empire House in Dewsbury and offices in Skipton, Leeds, Shipley, Halifax, Pontefract and Keighley.
In total, 13 buildings will be vacated in phases from autumn next year. Just seven – in Leeds, Shipley, Harrogate and Bradford – will be retained.
HMRC stressed that inquiry centres, where customers can get tax advice, will remain open in their current towns, although not necessarily in the same building.
Mike Hanson, HMRC director general, said: “These decisions are the latest to emerge from a nationwide series of reviews designed to create the future shape of the department.
“We’ve engaged widely with trade unions, MPs, councils and a range of customer groups, as well as our own employees.”
HMRC say staff at closing buildings – including the employees affected at Huddersfield – will be given the option to transfer to centres which are staying open.
A spokesman said options for those unable to transfer have not yet been decided.
“Each person will be interviewed on a one-to-one basis with managers and we will find what best suits them. There will be a job for them somewhere within the locality. It is up to them if they take it.
“There will be other options on the table but what precisely they are at the moment we are still working on. It will have no effect on the customers.”
But the Public and Commercial Services Union says staff have not been given options about where to work. Paul Tillyer, its Bradford and District Revenue branch secretary, said members were angry at the lack of information they have received.
“HMRC promised staff they would take account of their views. They have obviously not taken the slightest bit of notice.
“They have not said what they intend to do with the people who simply cannot move to another centre. There will be people who, because of care responsibilities, financial factors or even disabilities, will be unable to travel.
“The Government want more single mums in work and want to keep jobs in communities and cut carbon emissions and travel. But in their own departments they are ignoring their own advice.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty. There are still quite a large number of people who are no wiser as to what their future holds.”
The cuts are part of a Government drive to reduce the number of civil servants – which will see more than 25,000 job losses in tax offices alone.
The PCSU branch is awaiting the results of a national union ballot on strike action are expected on Monday. A further industrial action ballot among revenue workers only is being planned.