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  to investigate corporate tax avoidance.
 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.