Northern Ireland

Concentrix: 150 temporary staff in Belfast to be let go

Concentrix says it remains committed to its staff in Belfast Image copyright © Copyright Joseph Mischyshyn/Geograph
Image caption Concentrix has said it remained committed to its staff in Belfast

One hundred and fifty temporary staff at the US firm Concentrix in Belfast are to be let go on Friday, the BBC understands.

The company said the staff involved had been due to finish in August and were recruited on a short-term basis.

The move is related to the decision by HMRC not to renew a call-handling contract with the company.

Concentrix was brought in to cut fraud and error in the benefit system.

However, hundreds of claimants claimed that it wrongly cut their payments.

Following the government's decision to end the contract earlier this month, a DUP MP claimed staff at the Belfast office learned of the move via social media.

The company employs 1,800 staff at its Belfast premises.

The contract awarded to Concentrix, worth between £55m and £75m on a payment-by-results basis, will come to an end in May 2017.

In the eight months until then, Concentrix will work on clearing outstanding cases, said HMRC.

The company took up the contract in May last year and had been tasked with trying to save the government more than £1bn in incorrect or fraudulent tax credit payments.

Concentrix said it had operated "within the guidance set by HMRC".

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said on Thursday that the loss of the temporary jobs at the Concentrix office was the "human cost" of HMRC's decision not to renew its contract.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster: "Concentrix have only ever done what they have been asked to do and yet HMRC have pinned all the blame on them."

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