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Plans to close tax offices in Bradford and Shipley

Bradford Council

The government to close down two tax offices in Bradford and Shipley

The Government has decided to close down two tax offices in Bradford and Shipley. This closure will result in loss of 2,000 jobs as the Government confirmed its decision to create a regional hub in Leeds. The Government will create a strategic hub in Leeds which will include HMRC's regional hub. It has signed a 25-year lease on offices in Leeds in this regard. The Leeds city centre will host 6,000 civil servants by 2020. The move by the Government has left members of Bradford Council disappointed who had lobbied hard to have Bradford as HMRC’s regional centre and create jobs in the district. They are concerned about the expenses and the increase in travel time during the rush hour. One MP termed the step a shocking waste of taxpayer money.

Reacting to the decision, Bradford Council chief executive Kersten England said:

"We are bitterly disappointed with the news that HMRC will be locating in Leeds.

"HMRC made the announcement some months back that they would move out of Bradford and Shipley. We have worked extremely hard with politicians from all parties, businesses and partners across the district to make the case to HMRC and the government to locate in Bradford but unfortunately they haven't reconsidered their decision.

"In recent years at least 5,000 people have been employed in the city centre as a result of our work encouraging people to invest in the city.

"We will continue to support the growth of existing businesses and investment by companies new to the district."

Shipley MP Philip Davies called the decision a "shocking waste of taxpayers' money".

The Conservative MP added:

“I am extremely disappointed by this decision – and I have again my views clear again to HMRC today.

"This will be a far more expensive site than one in Shipley or Bradford and will further congest the rush hour travel into Leeds by road and rail.

“I will be seeking information on how much this building will be costing compared to what could have been sourced in the Bradford district.  I am afraid this is a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money.

“I will also be working with HMRC to ensure that the staff are looked after in this process."

Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, said:

"I have long opposed the move of HMRC offices out of Bradford, and the announcement that HMRC have signed a lease for premises in Leeds is extremely regrettable, as not only will the move be bad for Bradford by ripping hundreds of high-skill, high-wage jobs out of the city, it will be bad for HMRC because of the huge savings that a Bradford hub offered and the expertise that our renowned business school offered on the doorstep, and it just shows the short sightedness of HMRC bosses in their decision making.

“I am particularly disappointed that despite promises and some warm words, most recently by Michael Gove who during the recent general election gave assurances that he would do what he can to protect job losses, the Government have not done more and have instead stood idly by as their plan for a Northern Powerhouse becomes ever more Leeds focused, leaving Bradford out of the picture, and it is my focus to ensure that during the transfer, HMRC retains the jobs of Bradford based staff who I will be continuing to fight for.”

 

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However, HMRC chief executive, Jon Thompson, welcomed the step. Announcing the decision, he said:

"We are delighted to be part of the new UK Government Hub in Wellington Place, Leeds.

"This is another step in HMRC’s transformation into a modern digitally advanced tax authority.

"It’s the beginning of a process that will see around 3,800 colleagues come together in state-of-the art facilities, enabling closer working relationships and increasing our effectiveness in collecting taxes.

"It will also make HMRC an important contributor to the economy and to communities in and around Leeds."

Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency, Caroline Nokes, added:

"The Civil Service is a great place to work and enabling civil servants to have high quality and modern working environments will ensure that we work productively and deliver the best services to the public across the country.

"The Leeds hubs will be a catalyst for growth in the surrounding cities and towns, helping rebalance the UK economy and underpin our strategy for a strong, well-connected Northern Powerhouse that can continue to provide good-quality jobs and economic growth across the region."

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