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Revenue and Customs: Peterhead

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effects of the closure of HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) office in Peterhead on the provision of face-to-face advice for clients; how far the nearest HMRC enquiry centre providing face-to-face advice for clients will be from Peterhead following the closure of Keith House, Peterhead; what the estimated disposal costs are of Keith House; what support and guidance HMRC have offered to staff at Keith House over the Workforce Change Programme; whether HMRC plans any compulsory redundancies in respect of staff at Keith House; and how many staff at Keith House will be redeployed by HMRC to other locations. (311975)

Provision of face to face advice services currently provided by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at Keith House, Peterhead will continue either in the existing location or nearby, although no final decision has yet been made as to the actual location. These services are not affected by the decision to withdraw other HMRC work from Peterhead.

HMRC occupies Keith House under contract with its estates provider, Mapeley, and this contract includes a high level of flexibility for HMRC to vacate properties at nil or limited cost during the life of the contract. HMRC intends to maximise the use of the contract's flexibility and until vacation plans for Keith House are finalised, it is not known whether disposal costs will be applicable.

Following the announcement on 4 December 2008 that HMRC would withdraw from Keith House, managers have held one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss their options, taking account of individual personal circumstances. A regional implementation team was set up to explore redeployment options and find suitable opportunities within HMRC and in other Government Departments and agencies. Seminars for all affected staff are being held, and further support is being planned for those staff who want to continue their civil service careers.

Of the eight staff working in Keith House, plans are currently in place for one to be redeployed or continue to provide enquiry centre services. Those staff who cannot be redeployed are eligible to be considered for voluntary redundancy on compulsory terms. HMRC is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible.