Jobs go as tax office closes
Dereham is set to lose nearly 30 jobs as the tax office shuts as part of a series of nationwide cuts.Four tax and customs offices are in line close in Norfolk - including the one in Church Street, Dereham - but the 200 staff across the county will be offered the chance to relocate and work elsewhere.
Dereham is set to lose nearly 30 jobs as the tax office shuts as part of a series of nationwide cuts.
Four tax and customs offices are in line close in Norfolk - including the one in Church Street, Dereham - but the 200 staff across the county will be offered the chance to relocate and work elsewhere.
The move is part of a of a slimming down of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which is expected to see 25,000 jobs lost and more than 200 offices closed across the country by 2011.
Eighteen tax and customs offices are set to close across East Anglia, with the loss of 800 jobs. But Norfolk appeared to have been spared the worst despite the closure of the Custom House at King's Lynn's Alexandra Dock, Roseberry Court in Norwich, Havenbridge House in Yarmouth and a tax office in Church Street, Dereham.
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The 200 staff affected by the closures - three in Lynn, 45 in Norwich, 126 in Yarmouth and 28 in Dereham - will be expected to work from other offices in Norwich and King's Lynn which will remain open.
Breckland Labour group leader and Dereham town councillor Robin Goreham said: “I'm surprised and disappointed that HMRC have seen fit to take this action which deprives the people of Dereham and district of a very valuable service. My understanding was that, if the Church Street offices had to close, an attempt would be made to provide an alternative office presence within the town. If this is not to be the case, then I believe this to be a wrong decision and one which doesn't take into account the needs of a rural market town.”
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He had met with management and staff representatives and the closure was also opposed by Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson and Breckland Council.
Lina Curtis, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) representative in Dereham, said staff were very disappointed by the announcement that the office would be closing after so many years.
She said: “Although HMRC will provide support with travel costs for a time, on civil service salaries staff will have to think whether it is realistic in the longer term to travel to work in Norwich or King's Lynn.”
She said although there was a ministerial commitment to retain a customer contact point in the town that had not been elaborated on in the announcement.
In a written ministerial statement financial secretary to the treasury Stephen Timms said: “These have not been easy decisions. However, the overriding consideration has to be the Department's need to address new and challenging customer demands by restructuring its business and estate in the most effective and efficient way possible.”