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Hundreds of jobs saved as HMRC Haven House saved from axe

PUBLISHED: 07:59 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:59 25 September 2018

The HMRC building, Haven House in Lower Brook Street, Ipswich Picture: SIMON PARKER

The HMRC building, Haven House in Lower Brook Street, Ipswich Picture: SIMON PARKER

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AN HMRC office in Ipswich town centre is set to be saved from planned closure and retained as a specialist tax site, it has been revealed.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin. Picture: GREGG BROWNIpswich MP Sandy Martin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Haven House, in Lower Brook Street, is one of two HMRC offices in Ipswich that were scheduled to be closed over the course of the tax office’s massive 13-year restructure.

In 2015, plans were announced to close 15 offices across the East in a bid to make £100 million savings, which would have left the entire region supported by one regional hub in Stratford.

Now, it would seem the hub has been saved. A parliamentary question was raised about the matter and it was revealed that the offices are now due to become a ‘specialist site’ - designed for work that HMRC say ‘cannot be done elsewhere’.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said he was pleased if the announcement meant jobs would be retained in the town – but added that he would be keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure HMRC did not backtrack on its decision.

“Until I’ve got definitive evidence that these jobs are going to be retained in Ipswich, I’m going to be pressing HMRC to make sure that happens,” he added.

“Staff are best able to do their job most effectively in Ipswich and I don’t want to see them relocated or facing redundancy.”

Offices in Felixstowe and Colchester have already closed and their 96 combined staff moved to the Ipswich hub, which, according to numbers published in 2015, means there are 423 staff working in Haven House.

The St Clare’s House office in Princes Street, with 166 staff, is still due to close in 2023-24, with these jobs transferring to Haven House.

The plan laid out in 2015 stated that specialist sites would be created in Telford, Worthing, Dover and Gartcosh, Scotland - and Ipswich now joins the list.

It has not been made clear if Haven House will replace one of the previously planned sites.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC is transforming to create a tax authority fit for the future increasing tax revenue and improving customer service. When we announced our location plans in November 2015, we said Haven House in Ipswich would remain open as a transitional site until 2027-28.

“Since November 2015 our workforce plans have continued to evolve, and as a result HMRC will retain a significant presence in Ipswich. Haven House will become a specialist site for some customer compliance roles from 2028.”

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