Tax office closure is 'a kick in the teeth for loyal staff'
The taxman is closing a key office in the Westcountry as part of a nationwide shake-up.
The Plymouth Enquiry Centre is one of 281 face-to-face assistance hubs facing the axe across the country.
HMRC insists it will do all it can to redeploy the seven staff at The Apex, based in Brest Road, Plymouth.
But MP Oliver Colvile claims the move highlights the city's over-reliance on the public sector for jobs.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The centre will close in the spring of next year. It currently opens four days a week to help people with tax queries. The centre will be replaced by a telephone service and home visits.
It is claimed the move will save HMRC £13 million every year.
Tax bosses say the number of people using the Enquiry Centres across the UK has halved in the last five years.
HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: "We will give a more specialised phone service for customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and face-to-face help to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them, saving them both travel and time.
MP Oliver Colvile added: "My key concern is for the people whose jobs are going to be affected.
"Around 38 per cent of people employed in Plymouth work in the public sector. That's pretty huge.
"I will do my level best to help any of my constituents whose job may be affected by this."
Sarah Allen-Melvin, the vice chairman of the Public and Commercial Services union, blasted the news.
She said: "This has come as a bolt out the blue for the staff. They have been incredibly loyal, determined and committed staff. It's like a kick in the teeth."
A public consultation has been launched and a pilot scheme in the north of England will happen later this year.