The ongoing restructuring within HMRC is not going down well with the staff and unions. The Public and Commercial Services Union has estimated that plans to close Mansfield Street in Derby, and move it to Nottingham, will cost around £4M.
The union estimate that it will cost approximately £3M to retrain staff, and a further £1.35M in travel expenses over three years for those who relocate to the new offices.
HMRC made the proposal last year to shut the Mansfield Road and Agard Street offices and move 400 staff. At that time the local Evening Telegraph began a campaign "Hands Off Our Taxmen" (HOOT), which had the effect of causing HMRC to change plans and agree to only close Mansfield Street with the relocation of 200 staff.
The union calculate that 130 staff will relocate, while the remaining 70 will have to be retrained for different posts.
Under relocation rules, HMRC have to cover the travel costs of those moving to Nottingham for three years. Union officials have estimated that with 130 staff travelling each day (remember there are daily mileage allowances) and paying £35 a week to park in Nottingham, that cost will be £1.35M over three years.
A union spokesman is quoted in the Evening Telegraph:
"The 70 staff who are not moving will have to be retrained to new roles and staff from Nottingham who have to fill those vacancies will have to be retrained as well because the work is about local compliance for Derby.
HMRC's insistence that the transfer of a particular business area still takes place runs directly counter to every statement the Government has ever made about cutting waste in the Civil Service.
HMRC has given some flimsy rationale relating to cutting the costs of running the department yet, as we can see, the decision makes no economic sense."
HMRC are quoted:
"We do not recognise the figure that the unions have given but we are consulting widely and we will be interested to hear how the unions arrived at this figure."
Whatever the truth or otherwise of the figures being quoted one thing is clear, the costs (financial, time, inefficiency) will be borne by the taxpayer.
However, will we actually see any benefits?
Tax does have to be taxing.
The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine is delighted to announce that HMRC Is Shite has been nominated for a New Media Award in the category of Campaign For Change. The campaign for change award will go to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinions and behaviour through the use of new media technology. The winner of this award will champion a cause and provide information and tools to instigate change.
The full press release can be downloaded here.
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