From Keighley News, 17th Ocotber 2017
Written by Alistair Shand
KEIGHLEY MP John Grogan has voiced concerns over plans to create a new regional HMRC hub in Leeds. Under the scheme, tax offices in Bradford and Shipley would close, with the loss from the district of 2,000 jobs. Mr Grogan, together with Shipley MP Philip Davies and Bradford West MP Naz Shah, attended a Westminster meeting with HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson to discuss the issue.
The hub proposal is part of a nationwide restructuring to save £100 million a year.
Two offices in Bradford and one in Shipley would close and staff be relocated to Leeds.
Mr Grogan said basing the hub in Bradford would be a better deal for taxpayers.
“It seems odd to me that all these new regional HMRC hubs are in big cities with relatively expensive real estate,” he added.
“You don’t need an economics degree to see that millions of pounds of taxpayers' money could be saved if the hubs were instead relocated in places where the economy is less strong, such as Bradford.
“Part of the rationale for locating big public sector offices should surely be to give a boost to local economies which need it.
“The Airedale railway line is already bursting at the seams and I do not think it will be able to cope with all those who currently work in Shipley commuting into Leeds.”
Mr Davies, whose constituency includes Cullingworth and Denholme, said he was “appalled” that no economic impact assessment had been carried out.
“I was very disappointed given the enormity of the closure and how many people this affects," he said.
“Disappointed, but not surprised. All three of us wanted an assessment carried out and Mr Thompson has said he will consider it.”
Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, thanked the district’s MPs for their “cross-party efforts to keep these jobs in Bradford”.
She said: “I’ve personally requested meetings with ministers since this issue first surfaced.
“Unfortunately government has continued to maintain that its civil servants got the decision right.
“However, we will not let up in stating the case for more public sector investment in Bradford because it’s simply not right that too many civil servants are still based in the capital while taking decisions about people’s lives here in Bradford.”
A spokesman for HMRC said the dates for the offices to be closed and jobs moved to Leeds could not be made more specific than between 2019 and 2021 at present.