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Jobs at risk as tax enquiry offices close
8:00am Sunday 17th March 2013 in News
THREE tax enquiry offices are set to close next year putting jobs at risk in south Essex.
HM Revenue and Customs announced last week it plans to close all 281 of its enquiry centres throughout the country, with three of those offices in Grays, Southend and Basildon.
Unions estimate between ten and 20 jobs will be lost at the three south Essex centres, which give face-to-face help to people with tax questions.
Andrew Lord, spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union for south Essex, said: “We will be looking to campaign against this as we believe that it is very short-sighted. We are very concerned about the loss of services to the taxpayer at quite a modest saving for the Government.
“Staff were told about the plans in the early afternoon which came as a tremendous shock to them.”
The enquiry office in Grays is based in the council offices in New Road.
A consultation has been launched on the plans and several closures will take place in the north of England straight away.
The HMRC said the closures will save £13million. It hopes to re-deploy employees who could lose their posts elsewhere in the department.
If the enquiry offices are closed, tax queries will be answered over the phone. The department claims its enquiry centres have seen a large fall in the number of customers through their doors and says each appointment costs £152.
Lin Horner, HMRC’s chief executive, said: “HMRC will provide a more modern and accessible service that will target the right support to customers who need it, where and when they want it.
“We will give a more specialised phone service for customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and face-to-face help to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them.”