Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government to Axe North Jobs; Hundreds of Tax and Customs Posts to Go

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government to Axe North Jobs; Hundreds of Tax and Customs Posts to Go

Article excerpt

Byline: By Zoe Hughes Political Editor

HUNDREDS of civil service jobs are set to be slashed across the North by a Government tax office shake up.

A total of 1,400 jobs will be cut from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over four years to cutcosts in delivering tax credits to the most vulnerable and in handling tax problems of the region.

Thirty offices will be hit by the cull in the North - Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough among the worst affected.

Small rural offices in Northumberland and County Durham could be closed altogether.

The jobs are expected to go as early as March and, in a bitter twist, staff have been asked for their opinions - and to "fully participate" in the programme.

HMRC acting chairman Paul Gray said the cuts and closures were essential following the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise last year.

"We are taking the opportunity to save taxpayers' money by operating with fewer buildings "We are inviting all staff to comment on our proposals and to fully participate in our programme of change," he said.

Yesterday's HMRC document says 891 jobs in Tyne and Wear, Durham and south east Northumberland and 308 in Teesside will go by 2010.

Offices in Alnwick, Bishop Auckland, Hexham and Penrith will be hit, the HMRC predicting a "minimal presence" of fewer than 20 staff.

Union leaders fear smaller tax offices could close and Public and Commercial Services Union Northern regional secretary Tony Jarvis said the exercise was "absolutely appalling".

He said: "One job loss is one too many for the individual concerned, but it is also lost to the economy and to someone else who could have benefited in the future.

"The North-East is hugely reliant economically on the public sector and this level of cutbacks will have a major impact."

Across England, HMRC plans to axe 12,500 jobs by 2008 and 17,548 by 2010. …

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