HMRC yesterday announced a major restructure, which will see 137 local offices replaced with 13 regional centres.
The shake-up will be phased in over the next 12 years, with the replacement of the local branches expected to be completed by 2027.
Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon and Edinburgh will be among the towns and cities hosting the new hubs, although the proposals have sparked concerns about redundancies among the tax authority’s staff.
Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, outlined the need for change.
“HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices,” she said.
“This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.
“The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents.”
The tax authority has said that the restructure will save £100million by the middle of next decade and officials believe that fewer premises will allow for staff to receive better training.
The announcement has garnered a mixed reaction. Business bosses believe that the changes are likely to mean a more efficient organisation in the long-term, but unions fear further job cuts will have a “devastating impact, despite reassurances that the number of redundancies will be minimised.
“Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent,” said the PCS’s general secretary Mark Serwotka.