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Revenue and Customs: Wales

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on costs of increased travel allowances for staff relocated from HM Revenue and Customs' Brecon office to an alternative tax office. (217250)

[holding answer 8 July 2008]: Financial considerations are examined in detail in the feasibility phase of reviews, and maximum costs of extra travel for staff are published in the impact assessments produced by HMRC once closure decisions have been announced for particular buildings. These can be found on the HMRC website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/local/change-programme.htm.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of closures of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offices in Wales, including the impact of additional travel by HMRC staff. (219639)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is committed to reducing its environmental footprint. Although closure of offices may mean additional travelling time for some people, by reducing the number of offices HMRC occupies and using the remaining office space more efficiently, it will reduce its heating, lighting and IT equipment emissions, and so reduce its carbon footprint.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what visits have been made by the workforce change team to each HM Revenue and Customs office in Wales which is proposed for closure; and what the date of each visit was. (219640)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is currently consulting with staff, trade unions and other key stakeholders on the proposals for those offices in cluster and individual locations in Wales. Before HMRC put recommendations to me for decision, extensive feasibility work is completed which includes visits to sites where appropriate. To date visits have been made by HMRC officials to all offices in Cardiff and Swansea urban centres where the decisions have already been announced. Visits have also been made to the cluster and individual offices in the east and south west of Wales including offices along the west coast of Wales and visits are planned for the remaining offices in mid and north Wales. Details of the specific dates when these visits took place could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff employed by HM Revenue and Customs in the debt management field force in Wales are fluent in the Welsh language. (219641)

The Debt Management and Banking (DMB) field force in Wales currently have two staff members who are fluent in Welsh. There are also approximately 15 office based staff within Debt Management and Banking who provide support to Welsh speakers. DMB plan to provide the same level of service to Welsh speakers in future as it currently does and is working with other parts of HMRC to ensure this happens.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what savings it is estimated will be made from the proposed closure of each HM Revenue and Customs office scheduled for closure in Wales. (219642)

The estimated estate savings for offices in the Cardiff and Swansea urban centres which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plans to vacate are shown in the following table and were published in impact assessments on the HMRC website:

www.hmrc.gov.uk

on 29 February 2008. Final decisions on the future of other HMRC offices in Wales, will not be made until the findings of the consultation exercise and detailed feasibility work has been completed.

Potential estate savings from vacation (£)

Cardiff urban centre

Portcullis House, Cardiff

657,000

Crown Buildings, Newport

470,000

Taff Vale House, Pontypridd

154,000

Swansea urban centre

Crown Buildings, Llanelli

138,000

Custom House, Swansea

41,000

Total

1,460,000

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the assessment he has made of the effect on local economies of closure of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Wales. (219643)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) specifically comments on socio-economic issues in its impact assessments which are completed for every building where a decision has been made to vacate. Decisions have been announced on the Cardiff and Swansea urban centres and those impact assessments are available on HMRC’s internet site:

www.hmrc.gov.uk