News : Petition to Save Wrexham and Porthmadog Tax Offices from Closure Launched
Wrexham and Porthmadog, Wales, Nov 19, 2015 -- A petition has been launched calling on the UK Government to "re-think" its plans to axe Wrexham and Caernarfon tax offices.
Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) confirmed last week it intends to shut the two North Wales bases by 2021.
The closure of the Wrexham Technology Park site will result in the loss of 350 jobs from the town, with staff asked to move to a centralised office in Liverpool.
Around 20 employees are affected by the closure of the Caernarfon base, which is the country’s only Welsh language tax office.
A new regional office to serve Wales will be opened in Cardiff within five years.
An online petition – signed by more than 260 people – has been set up, stating: "We call on HMRC and the UK Government to re-think its plan, to keep a regional centre in the North and maintain the Welsh-language call centre here."
Backing the petition, Debra Yarwood from Wrexham posted: "Disgusting that these and the other branches in Wales will close! Very few could travel/locate to Liverpool. So many job losses which North Wales cannot recover."
Colette Beever from Buckley added: "Losing jobs in North Wales will be devastating. The commute to Liverpool is impossible both financially and from a time point of view for many staff."
Wrexham resident Sharon Rogers posted: "Please reconsider this ludicrous idea. Keep the jobs and skills in Wrexham.
"Stop cutting local government jobs, every cut has an impact on the local economy. Keep Wrexham as a tax office hub and respect their wealth of experience."
Meanwhile, Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths has written to the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb MP, expressing her opposition and concerns.
She said: "As the largest town in North Wales, I want Wrexham to be attracting and creating more highly-skilled jobs.
"The jobs at the local HMRC office should be protected, not centralised or dismissed, and I will do all I can to try and reverse the decision."
The HMRC shake-up is part of a UK-wide modernisation programme to create a "tax authority fit for the future".
Speaking last week, HMRC spokesman for Wales Jonathan Lloyd White said they are keen to retain as much of the Wrexham workforce as possible but understand a move to Liverpool will not suit all "personal circumstances".
He added it was "unusual" to make such an announcement in advance and it gave workers time to look at their options. He also said they would maintain "critically important Welsh language services".
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC):
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was formed on the 18 April 2005, following the merger of Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise Departments. HMRC ensures the correct tax is paid at the right time, whether this relates to payment of taxes received by the department or entitlement to benefits paid.
Published: Monday, November 23, 2015