Tees

Stockton protest against HMRC closure plans

Rally in Stockton Image copyright Duncan Rothwell
Image caption The march through Stockton was followed by a rally in the town centre

HMRC staff have held a protest against plans to close tax offices across the north east of England.

Posts at Middlesbrough, Thornaby, Peterlee and Sunderland, would relocate to Newcastle or Leeds, as part of a larger move to consolidate staff into a handful of regional centres by 2027.

Dozens of people took part in a rally in Stockton, which also called for a "just pay rise" for public servants.

Shutting "isolated and out-dated offices" would save £100m, HMRC said.

List of HMRC offices to close, and when

Image caption Unions say relocated staff would face long and expensive commutes

Gordon Rowntree, branch secretary of the PCS union, said: "The vast majority of our members find it totally unreasonable to have to travel up to an extra three hours a day and be expected to pay for the privilege.

"This is particularly difficult to accept when we have suffered increased hardship as a result of the 1% public sector pay cap and increased pension contributions."

HMRC said the new regional centres would bring staff together in more "modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents."

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