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Join me to fight HMRC office closure programme

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Pictured with Simon Elliot & Gordon Rowntree

I will fight the loss of 900 tax office jobs on Teesside tooth and nail.

It is vindictive and breathtakingly short-sighted for the government to visit more job losses on the town. 

To say that I am shocked and dismayed would be to put it mildly. I call on the people of Teesside to join with me in fighting these closures and job losses tooth and nail.

This latest round of HMRC ‘restructuring’ and ‘modernisation’ is not only incredibly short-sighted, it is massively inefficient.

We should be employing more Tax officers not less. There is massive tax evasion and avoidance in our country and major corporations have got away with blue murder evading and avoiding massive tax bills for far too long.

We need to be redoubling our efforts to bring in the tax that this country is due, not reducing our capacity to do so.

I fully anticipate that the line will be that this “modernisation” programme is designed to do exactly that. “Modernisation” does not need to involve the closure of local tax offices such as those on Teesside. This is 2015! We don’t need to have everyone in the same building.

This programme will involve the loss of some 700 posts on Teesside. I simply do not wish to hear that some people will be offered posts at a regional centre. That is not acceptable.

Why is it that regional centres in North East terms always means the loss of Teesside jobs and the concentration of such employment to Tyneside? It is never the other way round”, said Mr McDonald.

Quite frankly, like many Teessiders, I have had more than enough of this and we all know what happens. The offers are made for a small number of staff to travel up to Tyneside and that works for a short while. It’s never sustained. People simply cannot maintain the trek and they look for other employment options closer to home and more often than not at reduced levels of pay.

The result is the loss of yet more highly skilled work on Teesside. We’ve been here before – people will remember the closure of the Ambulance control rooms and workers having to slog up to Tyneside for as long as they could stand it. We said at the time it would be a disaster and it is.

The transport infrastructure between Tyneside and Teesside is so hopeless the journeys simply become unbearable. Those jobs wither on the vine with alarming rapidity and yet more local engine rooms of employment and economic engagement are removed from our town centres.

For far too long we have been haemorrhaging decently paid public sector jobs. This is the latest of a long line of such decisions.

The backdrop is what amounts to a tsunami of job losses - 2,000 jobs following the closure of SSI with Contractors account for a further 1,100 workers and a further 6,000 people in the supply chain. That is to say nothing of the tradespeople and shopkeepers and workers who depend on the economy generated by the steel plant.

That’s in excess of 9,000 workers - 9,000 families”, says Mr McDonald.

In addition, we have just lost 800 jobs at Air Products in Stockton [hopefully temporarily] and today we hear of a further 700 jobs going at Boulby Potash mines and now 700 from our local tax offices.

Well enough is enough! We need a government alert and paying attention to the utter devastation they are causing to our local communities.

I demand that this decision be reversed. This decision tips us over the edge and Government has to consider the socio-economic consequences of such drastic cuts. This community simply cannot sustain losses on this scale.

Unless and until this decision is reversed I am committing myself to campaigning against it with all the vigour and support that I can muster.

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