EK staff in HMRC plea

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Colin Pater­son

Staff at East Kil­bride’s two tax of­fices fear for the fu­ture of the town and the im­pact on their fam­i­lies if HMRC move to a re­gional cen­tre in Glas­gow.

Stay in EK cam­paign­ers are fight­ing to have a de­ci­sion to close Plaza Tower and Cen­tre 1 re­versed.

We fear for our fam­i­lies and the fu­ture of East Kil­bride if HMRC leave the town.

Those are the views of staff mem­bers at the town’s Cen­tre 1 and Plaza Tower tax of­fices.

In let­ters sent to the News, two em­ploy­ees and one for­mer mem­ber of staff whose sons still work in the tax of­fices have out­lined their con­cerns sur­round­ing HMRC’s pro­posed move to a re­gional cen­tre in Glas­gow.

Around 2700 jobs are af­fected and cam­paign­ers state that 2000 jobs will be in­di­rectly af­fected if and when the tax­man up sticks – lead­ing to a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on the East Kil­bride and wider South La­nark­shire economies.

The News has joined forces with the Stay in EK cam­paign group in a bid to get the UK Gov­ern­ment to re­verse this de­ci­sion and en­sure HMRC re­mains right here in East Kil­bride which is cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary as a new town.

There are plans to close Plaza Tower by 2021 and Cen­tre 1 by 2025.

In a state­ment is­sued to the News yes­ter­day morn­ing, HMRC say they will re­tain a pres­ence in East Kil­bride “un­til 2027-28.”

How­ever, Pub­lic and Com­mer­cial Ser­vices Union (PCS) East Kil­bride branch or­gan­iser Scott Clark says staff have not been told of any ex­ten­sion be­yond 2025.

The let­ters from staff – who we are not nam­ing or iden­ti­fy­ing – draw at­ten­tion to the stresses they are fac­ing as HMRC plan for a new fu­ture in Glas­gow. We hear from: ●The em­ployee who en­joys work­ing for HMRC in East Kil­bride as she is close to her par­ents who need her help.

●The for­mer em­ployee who built his

at the tax of­fices in East Kil­bride, moved here and built their lives here.

“The im­pact this move will have on the likes of sin­gle par­ents and fam­ily life is not some­thing this gov­ern­ment seems to recog­nise.

“The let­ters these staff mem­bers have sent to you shows how im­por­tant this is­sue is. This is not some­thing they will have done lightly but they feel the need to speak out about what’s hap­pen­ing.”

A spokesper­son for HMRC said: “As part of our trans­for­ma­tion plans to cre­ate a tax author­ity fit for the fu­ture, we are re­duc­ing HMRC’s es­tate from 140 of­fices spread across the UK to 13 re­gional cen­tres, in­clud­ing cen­tres in Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow.

“The changes mean we can give cus­tomers the mod­ern ser­vices they ex­pect as we move firmly into the dig­i­tal age – al­low­ing us to de­liver bet­ter pub­lic ser­vices at a lower cost to the tax­payer; and bring HMRC em­ploy­ees to­gether into mod­ern of­fices – en­abling greater col­lab­o­ra­tion and flex­i­ble work­ing.

“We will do ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port our em­ploy­ees in re­lo­cat­ing to the re­gional cen­tres in­clud­ing re­tain­ing a pres­ence in East Kil­bride un­til 2027/8.”

But Mr Clark replied: “As far as we’re con­cerned, the plans have been to close Queensway House by 2025.

“We have been given no in­di­ca­tion that there will be an ex­ten­sion to that.

“Dr Lisa Cameron, the MP for East Kil­bride, asked the trea­sury about an ex­ten­sion of the lease at Cen­tre 1 and has not had a re­ply.

“What they have said cer­tainly doesn’t echo what HMRC have told staff. If HMRC are plan­ning on stay­ing in East Kil­bride un­til 2027-28, they should be telling us.”

He added: “We want to work with HMRC on find­ing a so­lu­tion which will be for the ben­e­fit of every­one.”

●The Stay in EK pe­ti­tion can also be signed on­line. Visit https://www. ipe­ti­tions.com/pe­ti­tion/stayinek and give your sup­port.

Join­ing the fight The East Kil­bride News will keep up the pess­sure

Fu­ture in doubt HRMC pro­pose to leave the town

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