Molly Scott Cato MEP has condemned as ‘devastating’ and a ‘false economy’ government plans to close 11 tax offices in the South West which would result in not a single tax office west of Bristol. The closures are part of a national HMRC ‘modernisation’ programme which will see local offices closed and the opening of 13 new regional centres. Molly Scott Cato said:

“The government’s stated manifesto commitment to crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance lies in tatters. Not only will these cuts have a devastating impact on jobs across the South West, it is also clear they are a false economy. Any savings from these cuts and restructuring will be massively offset by reductions in tax revenues. Research shows that the tax gap for 2014 amounted to a colossal £122bn, just a little less than the annual budget for the NHS.

“MPs and tax experts have previously concluded that a local HMRC presence is essential to maintaining confidence in our tax system and ensuring taxpayers comply with their obligations. I agree, and support the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in their call for a full public consultation and full parliamentary scrutiny of the proposals. 

Dr Scott Cato is a member of the European Parliament’s special committee on tax which was set up in the wake of the LuxLeaks scandal [6] to investigate corporate tax avoidance.

Notes

[1] Full list of local tax office closures. In the South West the offices and dates when each office is due to close are: Avonmouth (Custom House) 2017-18, Bournemouth (Holland House) 2019-20, Bristol (101 Victoria Street) 2017-18, Bristol (Crescent Centre) 2017-18, Exeter (Longbrook House) 2020-21, Gloucester (Twyver House) 2017-18, Plymouth (The Apex) 2016-17, Plymouth (Westpoint) 2016-17, Redruth (Piran House) 2018-19, Swindon (Wiltshire Court) 2017-18, Taunton (Michael Paul House) 2016-17.

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