Need to know impact of losing HMRC jobs

Stuart Jeffrey from PCS gives a speech about the HMRC closures in Cumbernauld last year
Stuart Jeffrey from PCS gives a speech about the HMRC closures in Cumbernauld last year

North Lanarkshire Council is to carry out a more “rigorous and far-reaching” impact assessment on the closure of HMRC in Cumbernauld.

Cumbernauld East councillor Tom Johnston believes not enough has been done to investigate the true impact of the potential loss of over 1,200 jobs on the town.

He held up West Lothian as an example of where a more thorough assessment has been done and where he perceives the council has done more to back the PCS Union’s fight to stop the HMRC cuts.

Councillor Johnston said: “Cumbernauld’s 1,267 HMRC jobs bring over £27 million a year in salaries into the town and surrounding. HMRC provides 6.3 per cent of the total jobs in Cumbernauld.

“We want North Lanarkshire Council to take the same tough stance that West Lothian has been showing since December 2016, working with the PCS Union to fully research the case against local closure.

“They show 40 per cent of HMRC employees have family caring responsibilities, 10 per cent have a disability and travelling costs will cut take-home pay by seven per cent.

“They’ve worked out loss of revenue to local businesses, the loss of salary spend in West Lothian and the cost of the loss of office space rentals and they have lobbied the UK Government in Westminster.

“North Lanarkshire Council should be doing the same in Cumbernauld, instead it is two years behind West Lothian in this matter.

“If HMRC had been in Motherwell, Airdrie or Coatbridge we would have seen more interest by North Lanarkshire Council.”

An SNP motion, which saw Councillor Johnston seconded by fellow Cumbernauld East councillor Paddy Hogg, was passed by 33 votes to 22 after winning support from Conservative councillors.

Council officials will now compare its own impact assessment with that of West Lothian’s to see what areas it can incorporate.

However, depute council leader Paul Kelly believes Governments must do more to reverse the closure plans.

Commenting on the future of HMRC jobs in Cumbernauld after Thursday’s full council meeting, Depute Leader, Paul Kelly said: “We all agree that HMRC jobs must stay in Cumbernauld and North Lanarkshire Council will undertake a robust economic impact assessment.

However, we disagreed on the motion because we believe there is a significant role for UK and Scottish Governments to prevent these closures.

“We call on the UK Government to reverse centralisation plans and Scottish Government Ministers must consider the national implications of the potential closure of multiple HMRC and DWP centres.”