PROPOSALS to move Wrexham’s Tax Office to Cardiff fail the whole of North Wales.
I raised the issue during a Westminster Hall debate on business support in rural Wales.
My colleague Albert Owen, MP for Ynys Mon, had spoken in the debate to point out that Government policies – particularly those where services such as courts and tax offices were taken out of communities and centralised – harmed those communities.
He said: “Many of the local economies created by solicitors’ offices and the extra boost given to the economy by the areas around the courts are lost for good. Many personnel move from those areas to where the courts move to. We have seen HMRC, for example, moving its offices from the west to the east, to central Wales, down to Cardiff. That does not help rural economies in north and north- west Wales.”
In response, I added: “I am afraid this is an irresistible opportunity to talk about the Government’s appalling proposal to shift HMRC from Wrexham in north Wales, my constituency, which has many rural areas, to Cardiff’s city centre. Is that not exactly the opposite of what we should be doing?”
Mr Owen agreed and pointed out that, despite UK Ministers talking about the devolution of services to local communities, the reality was they were removing them.
As I regularly tell Parliament, North Wales’ Labour MPs have been raising concerns about the Government’s slashing of our local services since 2010.
Whether that has been cuts to legal aid or courts, the removal of Army battalions to headquarters outside Wales, or the ongoing proposals to move 350 tax office jobs to central Cardiff, every proposal harms our communities.
That’s why we speak out and stand up to oppose them – because we want to see our communities and our local economy flourish.