Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Westgate House, Bridgwater were informed today that HMRC has confirmed the closure of the office that has served Bridgwater for more than 40 years. The offices in Yeovil, Frome and Wells will also close leaving only an office in Taunton to effectively cover the whole of Somerset. Weston-super-Mare office will also close.
In total PCS members in over 90 offices across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were told that their buildings would close. These closures will affect 3500 staff.
Commenting Kevin Thorpe, Branch Chairperson for the Devon & Somerset Revenue Branch PCS and spokesperson for PCS members in Bridgwater said:
“HMRC have stated that they plan to vacate the Bridgwater office by no later than March 2011. However, in reality only a handful of staff will remain beyond June 2009. There will still be an Enquiry Centre, which has 2 members of staff. However, as this service currently relies heavily on support from the so called back office staff to maintain it’s current opening times of 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday it is quite clear this service will also face severe cut backs once the other staff have been moved out of the building. With the exception of Taunton the same will apply in the other Somerset towns that HMRC is vacating.
As suspected the 8-week consultation period was a sham. Right across the UK there was overwhelming support for the retention of HMRC offices yet almost without exception HMRC has completely ignored the views given from staff, unions, MP’s, Councils, Businesses and the public. PCS members in Bridgwater would like to thank everyone for the support they received and urges them to write to HMRC, the Government and their local MP registering their disgust at the decision.
Whilst no one currently working in the Bridgwater office is expected to lose their job as a result of the closure, they are being transferred to the Taunton office, it does mean the permanent loss of these jobs to Bridgwater & the obvious impact that will have on an already struggling local economy.
Once more this is an attack on small towns & rural communities across the UK & it is even more difficult to accept as this has the official approval of HM Government”.