Responding to Imran, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has stated the Government wish for HMRC to retain all expertise after the move to a Regional Hub in Leeds.
Under plans put forward by HMRC, the agency will close their offices in Bradford and elsewhere across the region, establishing a Regional Hub in Leeds, a plan that has been criticised by Imran who states that HMRC have no offices to move into in Leeds, and that they would be turning their backs on the ample expertise in Bradford, leading to higher costs for taxpayers.
There has also been considerable concern that following the relocation of all Bradford HMRC offices to Leeds, job losses will follow, leading to misery for many Bradford-based families and further economic implications by removing up to £1.2 million in business rates and close to £12 million in retail spending from Bradford.
As a result, maintaining the jobs of those living in Bradford working at HMRC has remained one of Imran’s key priorities, and during his question to the Government, he raised the ample reasons why HMRC offices should remain open, including one of the best MBA programmes in the UK at the Bradford University School of Management and some of the lowest property prices in region.
In her response to Imran’s question, the Financial Secretary stated that the Government want HMRC “to retain all of the expertise that they can”, an answer welcomed by Imran for demonstrating the Government’s clear commitment to maintaining the jobs of HMRC staff who live in Bradford.
Speaking on his question to the Treasury on HMRC’s estate and relocation plans, Imran said:
“When HMRC announced that would be closing their offices in Bradford and moving the jobs to Leeds there was considerable uncertainty that many jobs would be lost in the process, and it was a concern I raised with the Prime Minister following the announcement, but what we have today is a clear indication from the Government that they seek to maintain the jobs of staff currently working in Bradford’s HMRC offices.
“The National Audit Office also produced a very comprehensive report today on HMRC’s estate, and as they set out, HMRC need to ensure that they have a strong grip on their costs, an issue which I believe would be far more attainable and fairer to taxpayers if they instead moved their Regional Hub to Bradford, a city with lower property and running costs, but still with all of the requirements they need.
“Whilst I welcome the Minister’s commitment to maintaining the jobs of staff currently working in Bradford’s HMRC offices, I will be pressing them for solid answers on how they and HMRC will do so, advocating that the Regional Hub instead moves from Leeds to Bradford where it will be much better placed, and pressing them to greatly improve the transport links between the two cities for commuters.”