U-turn saves Yarmouth tax workers
TAX workers in Great Yarmouth have been saved from redundancy for the foreseeable future following a U-turn by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).The government department had planned to close the office at Havenbridge House and move the 150 staff to the HMRC's Norwich office, forcing many of the Yarmouth staff to look for alternative employment as they could not afford the daily commute to Norwich.
TAX workers in Great Yarmouth have been saved from redundancy for the foreseeable future following a U-turn by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The government department had planned to close the office at Havenbridge House and move the 150 staff to the HMRC's Norwich office, forcing many of the Yarmouth staff to look for alternative employment as they could not afford the daily commute to Norwich.
But Colin Fox, spokesman for the workers' PCS Union, said the HMRC was now planning to reduce the amount of floor space it was taking up in Havenbridge House to reduce costs and save jobs.
He added this idea had already been mooted by the union as a means of reducing costs when the plans to close the Yarmouth office were announced in December, but had not been considered by the HMRC.
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However, he warned the U-turn was only a temporary reprieve and feared the HMRC might decide to revive the closure plan in the future.
He said: “It was part of the union's plan to keep an office open in the town and save some money in the short term by reducing the office space, but they are not going to commit to a long term presence.”
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A petition has also been set up on the 10 Downing Street website calling for the office to be saved, which has so far been signed by 100 people.
David Gostelow, spokesman for the HMRC, confirmed the amount of floor space was being reduced as part of a “phased withdrawal” of staff from Havenbridge House, although he said the HMRC still planned to close the office by 2011.
He added staff who did not wish to move to Norwich were now being accommodated in the reduced office.
“We are optimising the space we have got there so we are not paying as much in rent. It is an interim measure towards full withdrawal from the office in 2011,” Mr Gostelow said.