Cumbernauld tax office fightback is now on

PCS member John Miller will be involved in the meeting
PCS member John Miller will be involved in the meeting

Politicians of all parties have unified in their opposition to the closure of Cumbernauld’s tax office by 2020.

Cumbernauld was listed as one of the centres that would be shut down as the number of offices in the UK is slashed from 160 to 17.

Constituency representatives Jamie Hepburn MSP and Stuart McDonald MP are attending meetings with the PCS, the largest trade union representing affected workers.

Mr McDonald said: “Staff are understandably feeling betrayed by the appalling decision to close the Tax Office, and are absolutely resolute in their determination to stop this from happening. I was very pleased to offer them my full support.

“It is obvious that those behind these plans are determined to close this tax office. My colleagues in the SNP and I will be fighting side by side with the workers to protect these jobs and to keep the Cumbernauld tax office open.”

Mr Hepburn added: “Staff at Cumbernauld Tax Office have our full support in defending their jobs against these crazy proposals which frankly show contempt for not just the rights of these workers but for the whole community of Cumbernauld.”

Stuart McDonald will speak at a PCS-organised meeting held at Cumbernauld’s New Town Hall on Friday, November 27 from 7pm.

The PCS is also calling for a high profile public consultation and full parliamentary scrutiny of the plans.

Its general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “No one should be in any doubt that, if implemented, these proposals would be absolutely devastating for HMRC and the people who work there. Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent.”

Meanwhile Central Scotland List MSP Mark Griffin is circulating a petition against the decision and is urging locals to sign it.

He said: “HMRC have given me a commitment that they expect the vast majority of staff in Cumbernauld to keep their jobs. This move will still seriously impact worker, their families and have a devastating effect on the Cumbernauld economy where the tax office is a major employer.

The local Labour Party has attracted much flak on Facebook after last year’s claims that a Yes vote would prompt the closure of the tax office, only for this to remain the case when No voters won the referendum.

Addressing this, Mr Griffin insisted “While I will fight the decision by the Tory Government to relocate these jobs outwith our community, I think that most people recognise that if Scotland had become an independent country, then 90 per cent of the population HMRC serves would be a foreign country.

“The knock on effect this would have had on jobs here would have been huge.’’