Plans to close the tax office in Glenrothes in December next year with the loss of almost 60 local jobs have been condemned by the town’s MP, Lindsay Roy.
And in his response to the HMRC’s consultation exercise on the proposed closure, he is arguing that the office should in fact be expanded to take advantage of cheaper rental rates in the Kingdom and opportunities for quality jobs that could be open to local people.
The government’s tax body is proposing to close 12 officces throughout the UK as it aims towards reducing its workforce to 52,000.
In these offices, 509 staff have opted to take voluntary redundancy, including 27 in Glenrothes.
However, at the same time as planning workforce reductions, HMRC are starting to recruit 2100 staff in priority areas, including personal taxation which is the focus of work in Glenrothes.
Mr Roy said: “I met with representatives of the PCS union from the Glenrothes tax office and was deeply concerned to learn that if it closes as planned, it will leave Fife without any such facility completely.
“I cannot fathom why HMRC is centralising services elsewhere in Scotland given the successful track record of Glenrothes
“The Glenrothes workers are being given the option to transfer to either Edinburgh or Bathgate, but they rightly argue that there is no need to close the office here.
“In fact, given that the rental rates are cheaper than other areas where some expansion is required, there is a very real argument in this digital age for HMRC expanding its operation in the town.
“Their closure plans just don’t make sense and this is centralisation gone made.”
The Labour MP continued: “The tax office workers in Glenrothes have built up a high degree of expertise over many years – indeed, they have won the prestigious Charter Mark award for the quality of its service.
“It would be a tragedy if it was to close and the jobs, which mean so much to the local economy, are lost.
“HMRC need to think again – not close but expand the service in Glenrothes - and I will be making this point very forcibly in my response to the consultation.”
The proposals to close 12 offices in the UK were announced by HMRC in June.
As well as Glenrothes, others facing closure are Barnsley, Barnstaple, Bishops Stortford, Carmarthen, Colwyn Bay, Kings Lynn, Merthyr Tydfil, Newry, St Leonards-on-Sea and Stevenage.
The only other Scottish office that could be affected by the plans is Irvine.
Consultation on the proposals is currently taking place seeking the views of staff, trade unions, elected representatives and local authorities.