The top civil servants at HMRC have admitted to MPs no economic impact assessment has been carried out on how closing the Bradford and Shipley tax offices will affect the area.
Shipley MP Philip Davies met with HMRC Chief Executive John Thompson, at a meeting in Westminster also attended by Keighley MP John Grogan and Bradford West MP Naz Shah.
Mr Davies said: “I was very disappointed to hear no economic impact assessment had been done on Bradford and Shipley given the enormity of the closure and how many people this affects. Disappointed but not surprised.
“All three of us wanted an assessment carried out and Mr Thompson has said he will consider it.”
The meeting was to discuss the plans to close the HMRC offices in Bradford and Shipley and re-locate to a regional hub in Leeds. It is part of a 170 nationwide closure programme aimed at saving £100 million a year.
Other concerns raised included transport infrastructure to deal with a regional hub and the MPs were told HMRC were working with Metro.
The MPs also highlighted their view that a regional hub in the Bradford District would have been substantially cheaper than one in Leeds – something accepted by HMRC.
HMRC defended its decision to create super hub centres and said an eight point criteria was used, including flexibility of travel between regional hubs, affordable rents and rates and digital and transport infrastructure.
The regional centre will replace three sites across the district, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs offices in Victoria Street, Shipley, No 1 Interchange and Centenary Court, both in Bradford. Almost 2,000 jobs will be taken out of the area.
Philip Davies said “This was a thoroughly unsatisfactory meeting as I was frankly appalled by the attitude of the Chief Executive of HMRC who had a cavalier attitude to the local economy, Shipley and Bradford and a cavalier attitude to taxpayers money”
Naz Shah said Following this meeting it is clearer to me than ever before the process of decision making has been extremely ill thought at its best and an utter car crash for the people of Bradford and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
John Grogan said “It seems odd to me that all these new regional HMRC hubs are in big cities with relatively expensive real estate like Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. You don't need an economics degree to see that the taxpayer could save millions of pounds if they were instead relocated in places where the economy is less strong such as Bradford, Wigan and Sunderland. Part of the rationale for locating big public sector offices should surely be to give a boost to local economies which need it. The Airedale line is already bursting at the seams and I do not think it will be able to cope with all those who currently work in Shipley commuting into Leeds”