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Battle ends in closure of tax offices

PUBLISHED: 15:11 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:19 30 June 2010

A LONG running battle to save four Norfolk tax and customs offices came to an end on Wednesday night as the government announced it would close as part of a rationalisation and cost cutting programme.

A LONG running battle to save four Norfolk tax and customs offices came to an end on Wednesday night as the government announced it would close as part of a rationalisation and cost cutting programme.

The Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offices at Havenbridge House, Great Yarmouth, Custom House, Kings' Lynn, Roseberry Court in Norwich and Dereham's Church Street will close next year it was confirmed yesterday.

The closures are part of a nationwide review of HMRC branches which will see 130 offices close in 2011 with union bosses saying that up to 1,700 jobs may be at risk.

In Norfolk, about 200 posts from the closed offices will be relocated to other tax sites in the county - a move critics say will save the government £300,000 while leading to less customer satisfaction in service at the same time.

For more than a year the Public and Commercial Service Union had fought the closures - with members even handing out sticks of specially made rock in Yarmouth town centre to highlight their plight.

MP for Yarmouth Tony Wright has also been a staunch critic of the Havenbridge House relocation by saying that some of the 120 staff there would lose out financially by having to travel to other offices in the county.

Last March, Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the treasury, told the House of Commons the closures were not based solely on cost cutting measures but on how to best serve Norfolk's population and tackle tax evasion.


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