PCS: Millions abandoned as government plots to close tax centres


12 February 2014

Millions of taxpayers are being abandoned as the government confirmed today it will close its face-to-face enquiry centres.

The closure of the UK’s 281 walk-in tax offices, expected to take place by the end of June, will mean more than 2.5 million pensioners, vulnerable workers and tax credit claimants will lose a vital service.

It also puts at risk the jobs of 1,300 low-paid, skilled workers.

The most widely used centres help tens of thousands of taxpayers every year, with Birmingham seeing almost 50,000, Peterborough helping 44,000, and Belfast and Hull about 40,000 each.

The impact on migrant workers in particular will be huge, as they make up one quarter of all users and often have complex tax queries.

HMRC has failed to engage with PCS or enter into any meaningful dialogue with us on these issues.

Low pay

Pay is low – standard for the civil service. Workers in these offices can start on as little as £14,755 (admin assistant) outside London. At admin officer grade, 80% of the workforce, starting salaries are £17,830.

Women, black and minority ethnic, and disabled staff face being disproportionately affected.

Across the offices, 72% of workers are women and 80% are admin officer grade.

In some areas the proportion of disabled staff is high – particularly Wales and Scotland.

Many disabled staff have been moved into these offices over the years as adjustments to help keep them in work. Now they risk losing their jobs through no fault of their own.

Further job cuts

In a separate move, HMRC also announced today a voluntary exit scheme for 500 more admin assistant grade staff across 70 offices.

This is part of a wider plan, which we continue to oppose, to cut a further 10,000 jobs from the department by March 2016.

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