A tax office boss today reassured staff they are ‘committed’ to keeping employees after news that hundreds of jobs are at risk in Sheffield.
The HM Revenue and Customs South Yorkshire office Concept house is due to close and the new premises will be in Leeds. The current office employs 500 people from the area.
Director of personal tax Dorothy Brown said HMRC would do as much as possible to keep staff.
She said: “We want to retain as many staff as possible which is why we have given people five or six years’ notice so they have time to look at their choices and options.
“We fully appreciate the move might be difficult in certain personal circumstances but we will work with staff on retaining or upskilling them.
“If people do want to travel we will support them, perhaps helping out with travel costs if it is more expensive and we will put together a series of HR packages. We are committed to keep as many staff as possible.”
HM Revenue and Customs is planning to close 137 offices under a modernisation programme.
HMRC said its modernisation programme includes investment in new online and other services to make it easier for people to pay their tax
Employees will be brought together in 13 large regional centres, with moves phased in over 10 years to minimise redundancies.
There are around 58,000 employees spread over 170 offices across the country, ranging in size from 6,000 staff to fewer than 10.
The Leeds centre would employ over 4,000 people from the Yorkshire and Humber area.
Ms Brown said the reasons for the move to Leeds were based around a ‘set criteria’, including good transport links within the region and beyond as well as enough space to house more than 4,000 employees.
She said although the decision may seem ‘disappointing’ for Sheffield it would benefit the wider region.
Ms Brown said: “The creation of this new office is a sign of commitment to the Yorkshire and Humber area and will increase the number of job within the region.”
She added: “There are 3,600 current jobs which will increase to over 4,000.”
The Public and Commercial Services union said the cuts would pose a ‘significant threat’ to the operation of HMRC as well as to the working lives of staff.
The union urged for full public and parliamentary scrutiny of the decision.