I have called on the Government to stop their proposals to close Wrexham’s tax office – which put hundreds of jobs at risk.
Under the plans, Wrexham’s tax office would close as part of a programme to centralise HMRC services – with proposals to site Wales’ service in Cardiff. Another regional office will be based in the North West of England, in Liverpool – though no site has yet been identified.
The scheme has been assessed by the National Audit Office. A report released today by the spending watchdog found that the proposals are set to cost almost £600 million more than first thought – and that HMRC had failed to understand the scale of disruption involved for staff affected.
An urgent question was raised in the House of Commons today about the Audit Office report, and I was among those who called on the Government to reconsider their plans.
As I told Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison: “There isn’t a small office in Wrexham, it employs 350 people. And the alternative site put forward by HMRC is in Liverpool, which hasn’t been identified yet. This is a shambolic policy, it is ill conceived, it has been badly implemented – and the Minister should listen to my colleagues from Wales – she has heard from many of them – and revisit this policy and reconsider. It is very, very bad indeed.”
These proposals will cost hundreds of jobs in Wrexham, take away local services and see skilled staff lost from our local economy.
Now, the body charged with saving the Government money is telling them it will cost hundreds of millions of pounds more than they first said. These proposals will hit Wrexham hard – but the savings Ministers promised are looking less and less likely.
It is getting harder and harder for Ministers to defend their cuts to Wrexham’s jobs.