Plea to reassess HMRC closure plans

Cumbernauld Office

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Politicians and union leaders from across North Lanarkshire are calling on the UK Government to reverse plans to close the HMRC office in Cumbernauld.

In a letter due to be sent to the chief executive of HMRC and Jessie Norman MP (Financial Secretary to the Treasury), they outline the devastating impact the closure would have on the 1,300 strong workforce and the local economy, if HMRC proceeds with its plans.

The letter details how the proposed closure will fail the people, community and impact on the economy of Cumbernauld, which has provided an effective service for the last 40 years and also invites them to a round-table meeting to discuss in detail the impact the proposed closure will have.

The correspondence from Councillor Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, Stuart McDonald MP, Jamie Hepburn MSP and the Cumbernauld branch of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, also outlines responses to a joint survey conducted by the Union and NLC last year. This survey provided clear insight to the challenges faced by staff at the prospect of relocation.

Some of the key areas highlighted include:

Increased travel costs: 57.4% of staff earn less than £20,000 a year. Staff will have to spend on average an additional £17 each week on travel to work - representing 5% of their take home pay.

Access to public transport: While Cumbernauld is serviced by train and bus networks there are no direct services to the proposed location in Glasgow. This will result in increased cost and travel.

Increased child care costs: 54.5% of staff have childcare or other caring responsibilities. Additional travel time will see care costs rise, on average, £40.32 each week - 12% of an employee's take home pay.

Economic impact: Survey responses calculate a loss of almost £1m in supermarket spend and in spend to local cafes and food outlets. This significant loss in footfall will severely impact on the local economy.

In response to this letter, it is hoped that HMRC and the UK Government will agree to a meeting involving all politicians, HMRC and the PCS Union, so no one can be in any doubt of the serious consequences this relocation would have for Cumbernauld and its workforce.

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