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Revenue and Customs: Yorkshire and the Humber

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the annual estate cost is of (a) Swinson House, York, (b) Hilary House, York, (c) Cherry Court, Hull and (d) Custom House, Hull; and until what dates the Government have contractual obligations to rent or lease each building. (217940)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is unable to disclose the annual estate costs for the buildings listed for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

All four of the buildings were included in the Strategic Transfer of the Estate to the Private Sector (STEPS) outsourcing deal with Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited in April 2001. HMRC now occupies each building under the terms of the STEPS contract. The contract expires on 1 April 2021 but HMRC will be able to continue to occupy beyond this date and also has flexibility within the contract to vacate properties prior to the expiry date.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff Hilary House, York can accommodate; whether the Government intend to retain this building until 2011; whether they are considering sub-leasing any part of the building before 2011; and if he will make a statement. (217941)

York was included in the announcement of 11 June 2008 of the next stage of HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) review as part of its change programme.

HMRC's planning assumption for Hilary House shows approximately 200 workstations. However, staff occupancy figures will vary depending on the operational requirements of the specific HMRC business units to be accommodated in the property.

HMRC has proposed the retention of Hilary House under the change programme and once the current stage of the review process concludes HMRC will be able to determine the final requirements for this building and will consider at that time any options for disposal of space that is identified as surplus to requirements.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people used the HM Revenue and Customs enquiry centre at Swinson House in York in each of the last three years. (217942)

The information is as follows:

HMRC Enquiry Centre in Swinson House, York, customers 2005-08

Number of customers

2005-06

17,895

2006-07

20,284

2007-08

15,364

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government will retain in York an HM Revenue and Customs inquiry centre, open to the public from 8.30am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday providing the current range of services, until 2011 at least; and what estimate he has made of the annual estate cost of doing so would be. (217943)

HMRC will retain an inquiry centre in York. They review their opening hours regularly to ensure that they match customer demand and there are no plans to reduce the full time service they offer in York.

As the accommodation review is ongoing, the final decision for the relocation of the inquiry centre has yet to be determined. This will impact on annual estate costs. An estimate of potential costs, however, taken from two inquiry centres recently set up by HMRC is for annual estate costs of approximately £52,500. The annual estate cost comprises rent, landlord service charge, rates and utilities.