MSP accuses Westminster of lack of transparency over possible HMRC office closures

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SNP MSP Margaret Burgess has demanded transparency as HMRC’s consultation on planned office closures is kept away from public scrutiny.

HMRC has begun consulting on the closure of offices in Glenrothes and Irvine, as part of moves to close twelve offices across the UK in the latest round of cuts to staff and facilities.

However, instead of opening the consultation to views from members of the public – who will clearly be affected by the planned move – only staff, trade unions, and elected representatives have been asked for their views.

Across the twelve offices, 509 members of staff have already accepted voluntary redundancies while 576 members of staff remain in post and will be affected by these closures – including 57 in Glenrothes and 32 in Irvine.

The Irvine HMRC office had been reprieved from previous closure plans in 2008, but has once again become the subject of plans to close in December 2015.

Commenting, Ms Burgess whose Cunninghame South constituency includes HMRC’s Irvine office said:

“Recent years have already seen hundreds of staff bear the brunt of cuts to HMRC services and this latest round of closures will only do further damage.

“It represents a particularly bitter blow for staff at the Irvine office after extensive campaigning previously saved the office from the axe in 2008.

“Each of these closures only increases the strain on the already over-stretched HMRC and the quality of the service being provided to people can only suffer as a result. It also makes it far more difficult for those who are not set up to use HMRC services online or by phone to access the help they need.

“This is a significant change that is being proposed and it is simply not acceptable for the public to be cut out of these consultation plans.

“The public deserve to have their say about how the loss of these offices will affect them and I would strongly encourage HMRC and the Westminster Government to be far more transparent with people in Scotland.”