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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Job losses as Cumbria's tax enquiry centres to close

Three tax enquiry centres in Cumbria are to close – which could cost 18 jobs.

Stocklund House photo
Stocklund House, Carlisle

HM Revenue and Customs confirmed today its entire enquiry centre network will close.

It means Carlisle’s Stocklund House centre and the Whitehaven and Penrith offices all face the axe.

Garry Humphrey, chairman of the Solway branch of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, said: “Although the fight to save these offices continues we have to acknowledge that the announcements today means hard working skilled staff members face uncertain futures and valuable jobs are lost from the Cumbrian economy.

“Cumbria losing three enquiry centres means that there are now only two tax offices left in the whole of Cumbria and none the tax payer can visit for advice."

The HMRC says a “new, flexible, face-to-face support service for customers who need extra help with their taxes, tax credits and child benefit entitlements” will be rolled out this spring.

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general for personal tax, said: “HMRC is dedicated to providing help to customers when they need it.
“The pilot showed that this is a valuable service for those who cannot get the help they need elsewhere.

“Our enquiry centres offer a great service to those who can reach them.

“But they are spread unevenly across the UK, the number of people using them continues to fall, and our research shows that the majority of customers who do use them don’t actually need to.

“The new service will enable us to tailor help in a way that works better and is more affordable.

“Our specialised phone service will help customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and our face-to-face help will be available to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them.”

See tomorrow's News & Star for more on this story

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