Thousands of regional jobs saved in HMRC U-turn

HMRC had planned to move almost 3,000 jobs from Portsmouth and East Kilbride
Around 900 HMRC jobs will stay in Portsmouth. Photo: grassrootsgroundswell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

By Tevye Markson

26 Jan 2022

Thousands of HM Revenue and Customs jobs will remain in Portsmouth and East Kilbride, the department has announced, with new offices replacing the two regional sites.

The department will open a new regional hub in Portsmouth, while East Kilbride will be the location for the second phase of the Glasgow Regional Centre, HM Revenue and Customs announced yesterday.

HMRC’s temporary sites in Portsmouth (Lynx House) and East Kilbride (Queensway House), were due to close in 2025-26 as part of the department’s ongoing hubs programme.

Since 2015, HMRC has been working to consolidate its 170 offices around the country into 13 regional hubs, with a large number of local offices closing in the last couple of years as those plans have come to fruition.

The Portsmouth site will be the 14th hub, keeping the around 900 employees that are currently based at Lynx House in the town’s Cosham neighbourhood.

Had the office closed, a large number of its staff may have been made redundant as the closest regional hubs would have been in Bristol and Croydon. Civil servants whose offices have closed have been offered jobs at the new regional centres, but HMRC has had to offer voluntary redundancy to hundreds of staff deemed to live beyond regional travel of an office so far.

The announcement means about 2,900 HMRC jobs will now remain in Portsmouth and East Kilbride in the long term.

DWP officials who work opposite Lynx House at Roebuck House, which faces closure later this year, could also benefit from the news.

One civil servant at Roebuck House told local newspaper The News the plan would enable the 85 staff who could lose their job to continue to apply for jobs in the civil service in Portsmouth.

HMRC will also meet its commitment for a second site in the Glasgow region by staying in East Kilbride, maintaining the around 2,000 employees currently based at Queensway house.

The first phase of the Glasgow Regional Centre is at 1 Atlantic Square and is due to open in the spring.

The locations of the Portsmouth Regional Centre and East Kilbride site will both be announced later.

HMRC permanent secretary Jim Harra called the announcement “the latest phase of HMRC’s long-term commitment to keeping skilled jobs in Portsmouth and East Kilbride”.

Earlier this month, HMRC second perm sec Angela MacDonald told CSW the locations for regional hubs had been chosen in an effort to “give our people the biggest career opportunities, that would allow us the best flexibility, [while] also trying to make sure that we were in places where commuting would be the easiest".

HMRC’s other regional centre locations are Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Croydon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Stratford.

The PCS union’s HMRC group president Lorna Merry said it is “excellent news” that staff can stay in Portsmouth and build their careers, welcoming HMRC’s “willingness to be flexible with its plans”.

Staying in East Kilbride will be good value for money for HMRC and provide long-term security for staff and the town, Merry said.

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