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Revenue and Customs: Closures

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the consultation on the proposed closure of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Scotland cost. (242746)

Consultation on all its proposals with staff, unions, and key external stakeholders was an integral part of HM Revenue and Customs' regional review programme. This drew on the resources not only of the dedicated Workforce Change team but of a number of teams across the Department, and it is not possible to separate out the costs of consultation.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of his Department's liability for redundancy payments consequent upon the planned closures of HM Revenue and Customs offices, broken down by location of office. (242748)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies as far as is reasonably practical. It has set up regional Implementation Teams to take forward the decisions on HMRC's future office structure. Each of these will be responsible for implementing the planned office changes within its area, engaging with staff to help find individual solutions that achieve the best corporate result. At this stage it is not possible to state either what the overall costs of redundancy might be, or in which locations redundancies might arise.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer where HM Revenue and Customs offices identified for vacation following the announcement of the rationalisation programme, which are (a) owned or (b) leased by HM Revenue and Customs are leased; what estimate his Department has made of the costs of relinquishing those leases; and what estimate it has made of the cost of vacating these offices. (242766)

The vast majority of HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) offices were included in its Strategic Transfer of the Estate to the Private Sector (STEPS), a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with its estate partner, Mapeley in 2001. HMRC occupies these properties under the terms of the STEPS contract rather than by the terms of a traditional lease.

Most of the offices identified for vacation under HMRC's Change Programme are held by HMRC under the STEPS contract or are offices that HMRC occupies by way of a non-lease, inter-departmental arrangement with other Government departments.

The offices closed or identified for closure that are held on a direct lease by HMRC are:

Oakglade House, Ashton Under Lyne

Portcullis House, Southend. Floors 11-14

Spitfire House, Edinburgh

Liberator House, Prestwick

Tremains House, Bridgend

Hockney House, Shipley

Tyr Myrddin, Carmarthen

HMRC intends to align its vacation of its leased offices with the existing lease expiry or break dates so no additional costs other than usual lease termination costs should be incurred.

The estimated costs of vacating the offices held on a direct lease has not been separately quantified.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he received on the proposed closure of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Scotland; and, where such representations related to specific offices, which those offices are. (242768)

Treasury Ministers and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) received a large number of representations about the proposed closure of HMRC offices in Scotland. Some were made before any specific proposals for the future of these offices had been put forward, but the majority were received during and after the consultation exercises on specific proposals with staff, unions, MPs with a constituency interest and relevant local authorities.

Information about representations from external stakeholders about office closures in Scotland can be found in the impact assessments for specific buildings to be vacated. These are published on the HMRC website at

HMRC's records of staff responses to consultation exercises show that 474 staff responses, representing the views of 1,833 staff, were received during the consultation exercises on offices in Scotland. Some responses were general and some related to offices which HMRC will be retaining, but the majority included comments relating to specific office closure proposals.

The only proposed office closures about which no specific representations have been received were Spitfire House, Edinburgh, Gilmore House, Paisley and Meadowbank Street, Dumbarton.