HMRC office closure plan set for parliamentary debate

Controversial plans to close HMRC offices in the Black Country will be debated in Parliament this week.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin
Dudley North MP Ian Austin

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has urged Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey to rethink proposals that have put the jobs at risk of 250 civil servants based at the HMRC’s tax credits office at the Waterfront in Brierley Hill, Dudley.

He has secured a parliamentary debate on the issue tomorrow evening.

The Labour MP said he will be using the debate to call on ministers to look again at the decision, keep the Brierley Hill offices open and ensure the highly-skilled HMRC staff are used to assist with the introduction of Universal Credit.

“This decision came as a huge shock to staff and I am doing all I can to get the Government to rethink this decision," Mr Austin said.

“It’s my job to stand up for local people which is why I have secured this debate and will be demanding ministers think again.

"These are hard-working and highly-skilled public servants.

The Waterfront

"They are very worried about their future and we need to secure their jobs.

“Last year the government made the Waterfront an Enterprise Zone but now they’re planning to close the office, and just weeks ago the highly-skilled staff at HMRC were told they would be working on the introduction of Universal Credit but now they’ve been told their jobs are at risk.”

Staff were initially told they would be transferred to the Department for Work and Pensions to work on the introduction and implementation of Universal Credit.

Then in October, they were informed they would remain at the Waterfront offices working on the new benefit.

But in a shock U-turn last month the proposed closure of the offices was announced.

An HMRC spokesperson said: "We want to retain the skills, knowledge and experience of everyone affected by the decision.

"We will do everything we can to find alternative roles for our staff, as the tax credits work they do reduces in the years ahead."

The debate will take place tomorrow at 7pm.

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