Council leader to meet MP and MSP to discuss potential impact of tax office closure

The HMRC office in Cumbernauld has been under threat since November 2015
The HMRC office in Cumbernauld has been under threat since November 2015

A meeting between North Lanarkshire Council and Cumbernauld’s parliamentarians is being arranged following publication of a report outlining the impact of the proposed closure of the HMRC offices.

HMRC announced in November 2015 a proposal to close its office in Cumbernauld and relocate the 1300 staff to a new centre in Glasgow.

The council and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union carried out a survey among staff on the potential economic impact of the closure.

A report has now been published which indicates staff, on average, would have to spend an extra five per cent of their wages on travel to Glasgow and 63 per cent of staff would spend an extra hour and a half travelling each day.

More than half of staff (54.5 per cent) have childcare or other caring responsibilities, which would be negatively affected by the extra travel time as well as costing an average of £40 a week (12 per cent of take home pay).

In addition, 39 per cent of staff who stated they have a health condition or impairment said this would be likely to affect their ability to travel to Glasgow city centre.

The report also shows a significant impact on Cumbernauld town centre, with a potential annual loss of £700,700 to local supermarkets.

In last week’s News & Chronicle Cumbernauld South councillor Allan Graham stated the closure of the tax office ‘would be like dropping an H-bomb on the town’.

Now council leader Jim Logue has requested a meeting with Cumbernauld’s MP Stuart McDonald and MSP Jamie Hepburn to discuss how they use the survey results to push both the Scottish and UK Governments to make HMRC change course.

He said: “Closing the HMRC office in Cumbernauld will have a devastating impact on the 1300 staff and the town’s economy.

“HMRC has been a major employer here for 40 years and local people have relied on the secure employment the office has brought to the town. The loss of so many jobs at one time is unthinkable and, for many staff, travelling to and from Glasgow every day is simply not possible financially and practically.

“I have asked for an urgent meeting with Jamie Hepburn and Stuart McDonald to advise them of the outcomes of the survey among HMRC staff and ask what the Scottish and UK Governments are doing to support the employees.

“I would expect both governments to be talking to HMRC and fighting for the retention of these jobs in Cumbernauld.”

Both Mr Hepburn and Mr McDonald confirmed they would be happy to meet with Councillor Logue.