Major job losses with HMRC Scottish office closures
The tax collection agency, HMRC, is to consolidate its UK network of offices in a move which could see more than 2,000 jobs lost in Scotland.
More than 8,000 people are currently employed at the agency's 18 Scottish offices, including major centres in Dundee, Cumbernauld and East Kilbride.
HMRC said by 2021, a maximum of 6,300 staff would be based at new regional centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
A smaller unit will be retained at the national crime campus in Gartcosh.
HMRC's chief executive Lin Homer said: "HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.
"This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system."
She added: "The new regional centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents.
"They will also make a big contribution to the Scottish economy, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the government's commitment to a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK."
SCOTTISH OFFICES TO CLOSE
- Aberdeen by 2021
- Bathgate by 2020
- Cumbernauld by 2020
- Dundee (Sidlaw House)
- Dundee (Caledonian House) by 2018
- East Kilbride (Hawbank Stores)
- East Kilbride (Plaza Tower) by 2021
- East Kilbride (Queensway House) by 2026
- Edinburgh (Elgin House) by 2020
- Edinburgh (Grayfield House) by 2020
- Edinburgh (Meldrum House) by 2020
- Glasgow (Cotton House) by 2020
- Glasgow (Portcullis House) by 2020
- Inverness (River House) by 2018
- Livingston by 2020
- Irvine and Glenrothes in the process of closing
HMRC said its 18 Scottish offices ranged in size from about 1,800 people to fewer than five.
The agency said it expected between 2,300 and 2,600 full-time equivalent employees to work in the Edinburgh regional centre and between 3,400 and 3,700 full-time equivalent employees to work in the Glasgow centre.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the announcement on office closures "appeared to put significant numbers of jobs in Scotland at risk".
Speaking at Holyrood, she told MSPs she would be seeking urgent talks with the UK government to discuss the matter.
Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said the prospect of significant job losses was "devastating" and "every effort must be made" to protect them.
"I have already contacted Labour's Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, to discuss this issue and we will use every opportunity to raise the situation in parliament," he added.
The PCS union said the closure plan was a danger to HMRC fulfilling its duties.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "No one should be in any doubt that, if implemented, these proposals would be absolutely devastating for HMRC and the people who work there.
"Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent."
Last week, MPs on the public accounts committee said HMRC's customer service was so bad that it could be affecting tax collection.
HMRC denied that, and said it had now recruited 3,000 more staff to help.