HMRC signs latest hub deal in ‘ideal’ Glasgow location
Tax agency will move 2,700 staff to second Scottish regional centre by 2021
HMRC has agreed to lease office space in Glasgow for one of its 13 regional centres. Credit: HMRC
HM Revenue and Customs has signed off on a 25-year lease of office space in a new 10-storey building on Glasgow’s Argyle Street.
One of 13 regional centres being opened up across the country – another of which is in Edinburgh – the new Glasgow hub will accommodate 2,700 staff from the tax agency by 2021.
HMRC again insisted that its deal represents the best value for money for the taxpayer, following numerous criticisms levelled against the estates rationalisation programme from MPs and the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee.
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The programme involves the closure of more than 130 offices, which the tax agency said were a legacy from the 1960s and 70s and housed anywhere between 6,000 and fewer than 10 staff.
Some 38,000 staff will be moved to the 13 regional centres, which will all be equipped with “state-of-the-art” technology. The programme originally intended to generate savings of £100m a year by 2025, but the PAC has since criticised the tax agency for revising down the figures, and for locking taxpayers into lengthy leases.
HMRC said a “comprehensive search” of the city had taken place and the Glasgow office, about two-thirds of the building to be based in the new Atlantic Square development, was “by far the ideal location, as well as being cost effective”. It has good transport links and digital infrastructure, the department added. Construction is due to begin next month.
Steven Boyd, HMRC estates director, said: “I’m delighted to confirm Atlantic Square as our 10th regional centre. HMRC has a significant presence in Scotland and we are pleased to grow upon this in Glasgow.
“The development will help continue HMRC’s transformation into a modern, digitally-advanced tax authority thanks to the site’s high specification office space, central and accessible location and digital infrastructure.”
Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, added that this “significant and long-term investment” in the city would reinforce its status as a hub for businesses and the financial services sector.
HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson told parliament in December that an Infrastructure and Projects Authority review had given the programme an ‘amber’ risk rating, with specific concerns raised around staff engagement. But he insisted he was confident in the long-term sustainability of the £500m ten-year project.
It is part of a wider scheme, the Government Hubs Programme, which aims to radically reduce the number of government buildings from around 800 to 200 over the next five years through the consolidation of many operations into 18-22 regional centres. At least half of those will incorporate HMRC regional centres.
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