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Revenue and Customs: Southport

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans HM Revenue and Customs has for the usage of Dukes House in Southport in the next 10 years. (207081)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced on 29 February its plans to vacate its office in Dukes House, Southport, by spring 2010 or earlier as staff are relocated to other buildings which will be retained. The enquiry centre services currently available at Dukes House will either remain in the current building or be relocated nearby.

HMRC leases Dukes House from its strategic estates partner, Mapeley, under the terms of the STEPS contract. HMRC will give at least 12 months' notice to Mapeley of its intention to vacate the building. Once HMRC's lease has ended, responsibility for the future use of Dukes House will be entirely a matter for Mapeley.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revisions HM Revenue and Customs has made to its plans to relocate its offices in Dukes House, Southport, following the outcomes of appeals against its original proposals on the part of employees. (207294)

HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) plans are still as announced on 29 February: to relocate staff from most of the business units in its office in Dukes House Southport to join larger teams in other offices within reasonable daily travelling time. Customer Contact staff will remain in or near their current location to maintain the enquiry centre services currently offered at Dukes House.

Individual members of staff may object through a grievance and appeals process against a decision that it is reasonable to require them to relocate. Where agreement is reached that it would be unreasonable for an individual to relocate with their team to the long-term location preferred by their own business unit, all alternative options will be explored, such as transfer to another business unit in an HMRC office within reasonable daily travelling time, or to another Government Department within the locality.

If none of the alternative options is feasible, temporary work of comparable quality will be provided in the Southport office for individuals who cannot move until a permanent solution is found. That will not affect the business decision to vacate the office, though it may affect the timing of the vacation.