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MPs call on Govt to suspend HMRC office closures

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More than 60 MPs have signed a motion calling on the Government to suspend plans to dramatically reduce HMRC’s offices.

The Revenue is currently going through plans to dramatically reduce its footprint, cutting more than 150 offices.

The process is part of a plan to improve HMRC’s digital services, including the roll-out of online tax accounts.

However, a cross-party group of MPs have now questioned how the reforms will affect the taxman’s ability to perform.

Some 63 MPs have signed the early day motion, including 19 Labour MPs and 32 representatives from the Scottish National Party.

Signatories include the SNP’s pensions and treasury spokesmen, Ian Blackford and Stewart Hosie, shadow minister for small business Bill Esterson, and former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt.

Early day motions rarely reach debate in the House of Commons but are used by MPs to raise attention to issues considered important.

It is possible for the most popular to be cited during parliamentary debates or questions.

An HMRC spokesman says: “We’ll use technology to make better use of the huge amount of data we hold about individuals and businesses, identifying compliance risk with new intelligence and analysis techniques. This will help us target customers who need visits from us. We’ll still have people working out in the field; compliance officers as well as other roles, such as the Needs Extra Support mobile advisers.

 “The new regional centres will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.” 

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