Tax office in town is to close in June with eight jobs lost

JOBS will be lost as the town’s walk-in tax office closes in June.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced this week it is to close its tax offices across the country from June 30, including its centre in London Road, St Leonards.

Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, condemned the proposed closure and said: “This service not only employs eight people but also provides assistance to those who need to be able to access a service face to face, such as those with limited literacy skills, without bank accounts or who have chaotic lives that require additional support.”

Kathryn Corcoran, HMRC spokeswoman, said: “We are replacing our current enquiry centre network UK-wide with an alternative face-to-face support service for those who need extra help with their tax credits, taxes and child benefit. Staff at the enquiry centre in London Road have a number of options. They can opt to work in the new face-to-face service, or to seek a job within another business stream in HMRC. They will also be offered a ‘voluntary exit’ from HMRC. We are committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies. There are currently eight staff based there.”

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general for personal tax, said: “We are dedicated to providing help to customers when they need it. Our enquiry centres offer a great service to those who can reach them. But they are spread unevenly across the UK, the number of people using them continues to fall, and our research shows that the majority of customers who do use them don’t need to. The new service will enable us to tailor help in a way that works better and is more affordable. Our specialised phone service will help those whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and our face-to-face help will be available to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them.”