Around 2500 jobs could be axed as HMRC confirms closure of 17 sites
HM Revenue and Customs will close offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee over ten years.
Up to 2500 jobs could be lost across Scotland over the next ten years as HM Revenue and Customs confirms it is to close 17 of its 18 Scottish offices.
The closures are in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, East Kilbride, Bathgate, Cumbernauld, Livingstone, Irvine and Glenrothes, with the majority of premises expected to close by 2019/2020.
Work done by 11 of the offices will be rehoused in two new regional centres, which will open in Glasgow and Edinburgh, however there will be no alternative roles for those who live outwith the central belt unless they are willing to move.
Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union described the news as "devastating" and called for a parliamentary review.
The union says the plans "pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff".
HMRC currently employs around 8000 people across Scotland.
The agency will remain at its East Kilbride offices as a transitional site until 2025/2026 and it will also maintain a presence at the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh.
The restructuring is part of a major ten-year modernisation programme.
HMRC's chief executive Lin Homer said the current operational structure is a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s working model.
The agency says that "by bringing them together in large, modern buildings, equipped with digital infrastructure and training facilities, HMRC will support more skilled jobs and varied career paths up to senior levels with less need to move around the country".
The Edinburgh regional centre is expected to employ between 2300 and 2600 people and the Glasgow centre will employ between 3400 and 3700.
The agency said it hopes to employ much of its current staff at its new regional centres and it would "do everything it reasonably can" to help those who do not live in Glasgow or Edinburgh find alternative employment.
Ms Homer said: "HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.
"The new regional centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents."
It is understood details of the closures were to be unveiled to staff on Thursday lunchtime but they were leaked in advance.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "deeply concerned" about the job losses.
"These job losses are of significant concern and I am deeply concerned about it," she said.
"We could potentially be looking at job losses that will run into the thousands, and that’s particularly concerning given that unlike the Scottish Government, the UK Government doesn't have a policy of no compulsory redundancy in the public sector.
"I will now be seeking urgent talks with the UK Government to discuss these plans in more detail and see what we can do to mitigate this, and I would certainly hope to persuade the UK Government that what they are planning and the impact that is going to have on jobs is the wrong thing to be doing.
"People will clearly be very concerned about this; people in different parts of Scotland work hard day-in, day-out to provide the services that HMRC give to the public, so I think we need to see from the UK Government a willingness to discuss these proposals in much more detail."
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "No one should be in any doubt that, if implemented, these proposals would be absolutely devastating for HMRC and the people who work there.
"Closing this many offices would pose a significant threat to the operation of HMRC, its service to the public and the working lives of staff, and the need for parliamentary scrutiny of the plans is undeniable and urgent."
The union has previously pledged to support shadow chancellor John McDonnell's review of HMRC's role and resources.
Since 2010, more than 10,000 UK jobs have been cut from the department and 250 offices have closed.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed at First Minister's Questions on Thursday that she is to seek urgent talks with HMRC over the risk to jobs in Scotland.
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