A Scottish National Party (SNP) MP has accused the government, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of ‘betraying’ their staff. The accusation comes after the collapse of nearly 500 planned job transfers.
479 workers at the HMRC office at Sidlaw House in Dundee were supposed to be moving to DWP branches in the city between 2018 and 2021. This was because, HMRC said, the amount of work relating to tax credits is expected to fall, and the DWP needed more staff to deal with Universal Credit. The closure of the Sidlaw House office was first announced in November 2015.
Stunned staff have now been told that no positions can be guaranteed with the DWP once the HMRC’s tax credits work in Dundee ends in three years’ time.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union warned last year that the planned closure had left staff with “uncertainty” hanging over them. But at the time, HMRC gave assurances to the staff, saying:
We expect the majority of [staff] to transfer gradually to DWP from 2018 to 2021.
But now, it says that:
DWP will now be able to deliver as planned without the level of additional resource it originally expected, and so the managed moves of HMRC staff to DWP will not be going ahead as planned.
We will be doing everything we can to keep their skills, knowledge and experience, either in HMRC or elsewhere in the civil service, as the tax credits work they do reduces in the years ahead.
DWP/HMRC: a “devastating betrayal”
The SNP MP for Dundee West, Chris Law, called the potential loss of jobs a “devastating betrayal” by the government and its departments. He also accused the “Tories” of making a “disgraceful decision” which:
Proves once again that they are more interested in needless cuts… and cannot be trusted to lead our city or our country.
The PCS union has said that “nothing is off the table”, including industrial action. But the potential job losses are part of a wider money-saving drive by HMRC. It was announced in 2015 that the department would be closing 137 local offices. This was to save around £100m, by opening 13 regional tax centres instead. But the PCS union said at the time that the move was “absolutely devastating”, on top of the 11,000 jobs that had already been cut since 2010.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?