16th Nov, 2018

Campaign to prevent loss of 300 Coventry tax office jobs supported by council

Felix Nobes 22nd Feb, 2018 Updated: 22nd Feb, 2018

A CAMPAIGN to prevent the loss of about 300 jobs at Coventry’s main tax office has been unanimously supported during a council meeting this week.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is closing offices across the UK to open 13 modernised centres in their place.

The offices at Sherbourne House in the city centre are due to close in 2020/21, when HMRC’s Birmingham Regional Centre opens.

Many jobs are expected to be lost while some will transfer to the new centre.

The council motion to oppose the closure and ask HMRC to seek an alternative strategy, put forward by Coun Jayne Innes, was unanimously approved on Tuesday’s full council meeting.

Labour councillor John Mutton said: “This council supports the staff of HMRC in their campaign to stop the closure of a local office in the city.

“The closure of the Coventry office will mean a loss of 300 quality jobs, of which 70 per cent are carried out by female workers.

“The loss of these jobs will also have a detrimental impact on the city’s economy.

“We call upon HMRC to think again and to cease the widespread local office closure programme which will reduce HMRC offices to just 13 sites to service the whole of the UK”.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union along with other union bosses launched a campaign to save the offices.

They also staged an event last month in which over 200 members of the public attended to voice their concerns.

A PCS spokesperson told us: “We welcome the decision of Coventry council to support our campaign.

“This provides a real boost and shows the whole of Coventry is behind our efforts to prevent the closure.

“We will stop at nothing to make sure the offices stay open for the employees and for the people of Coventry.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We are transforming into a smaller, more highly-skilled organisation offering modern, digital services.

“In November 2015, we announced a ten-year transformation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future, by creating 13 new modern regional centres, one of which is in Birmingham, serving every nation and region in the UK.

“We will continue to support people in relocating to the regional centres and in trying to find alternative solutions for those that can’t.

“We want to keep as many staff as possible and expect that 90 per cent of the current workforce will either work in a regional centre or see out their career in an HMRC office.

“Around a year before the move we will hold one-to-one conversations with all colleagues based there, to formally establish whether they would be able to move to the Birmingham Regional Centre or another HMRC location, and what support they require.”

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