In a major restructuring move designed to reduce costs, HMRC has announced that they plan to significantly cut the number of offices they currently run down to just 13 by 2027.
Critics fear that the cost cutting project could leave large towns and cities without a tax office. The restructuring plan is also likely to lead to thousands of redundancies.
Chief executive, Lin Homer, said: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.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.”
Unions say that the changes will cause significant disruption to the performance of HMRC, particularly as 11,000 full-time equivalent staff posts have been cut at Revenue & Customs since 2010 and 281 walk-in help centres have already closed, removing the option of face-to-face help for 2.5 million people a year.
The 13 new regional centres will be in Newcastle upon Tyne, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Stratford and Croydon. Four specialist offices will also operate at Telford, Worthing, Dover and at the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh, near Glasgow. The new centres are due to be open within the next five years; however some of the existing offices will remain open as transitional centres for up to 12 years.