HMRC staff face being relocated after plans to close offices unveiled

Long-term plans by HMRC to replace 170 offices with 13 larger regional centres, in an attempt to save money, could see 38,000 employees expected to relocate many miles away, according to a report.

Critics have called the plans unrealistic, with the National Audit Office (NAO) producing a report which predicts it will cost £600m more than the first estimates said it would cost. The government had claimed that tens of millions of pounds of public money would be saved by following the plans.

However, the NAO has said the organisation is now considering altering its original plans after recognising them as being unrealistic.

The NAO’s report found some substantial moves for HMRC staff, the most notable being for those in Redruth, Cornwall, who will be invited to move a staggering 174 miles to a new office located in the city of Bristol.

Workers in Norwich could be relocated 130 miles to Croydon, while staff in Aberdeen and Dundee could be moved 127 miles to Edinburgh.

The average move will be 18 miles, according to the NAO, and an estimated 5,000 employees are expected to leave their jobs due to being unwilling to relocate, which could impact the tax authority’s performance to begin with, as new staff are trained up.

The report said: “Staff that will be recruited at the new regional centres may have lower initial performance, and may take time to reach the productivity levels of more experienced staff.”