Andrew Turner MP has secured a ‘long-term’ promise that tax office facilities in Newport will continue to be available in the town. But, he says, a Ministerial reply still leaves the way open for some jobs to move to the mainland.
Rumours were circulating that the tax office will close and jobs be relocated to the mainland when the lease runs out on their 33 St James’s St premises to allow for the bus station redevelopment. Then on Thursday Paymaster-General Dawn Primarola, MP, said in a parliamentary written answer that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) (the merged Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise) is ‘looking to acquire a new building that can accommodate the balance, taking into account our projections of staff likely to remain on the island in both the short and long-term.’
Mr Turner said,
‘I tabled these questions after being approached by concerned tax office staff. The answers contain some good news and some not-so-good. The good news is that occupation of the current office has been extended until 31st May 2006; that there are three premises under consideration for staff relocation, all located in Newport; and that there is space at 88/91 St. James St for ten staff in addition to the 14 staff or so currently based there.
‘The not-so-good news is that a new building “in Newport” may be on Dodnor Park, well out of the way for those without a car. And the phrase “taking into account our projections of staff likely to remain on the Island in the short- and long-term” clearly allows for HMRC to project a reduction of staff.
‘I must therefore ask the Minister for further assurances: first, that the new office will be in the town centre near the bus station. Broadlands is inconvenient for many benefits customers; Dodnor would be more so. Second, that given the stability and loyalty of the Island’s workforce compared with difficulties in recruitment and retention on the mainland HMRC should be looking to establish national specialist agencies here (as the Benefits Agency has done) rather than offer staff from the Island jobs in Cosham; and third, that in any future reorganization, there will be full and proper consultation not only with the workforce but with local people and their Member of Parliament.’
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the full-time equivalent staffing complement is of each HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office in (a) the Isle of Wight and (b) Hampshire; what proportion of that complement is filled in each office; what percentage of those employed have worked for HMRC for (i) less than one year, (ii) one to two years, (iii) three to five years, (iv) six to 10 years and (v) more than 10 years; and what the annual expenditure was by each office on job advertising in each of the last three years for which information is available. 
Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is given in the tables.
|Hampshire||Andover||Basingstoke||Portsmouth||Southampton||Winchester||Grand total||Percentage length of service|
|Less than 1 year||—||—||72.0||20.7||—||92.7||3.98|
|1 to 2 years||1.6||—||194.7||122.3||8.5||327.1||14.04|
|3 to 5 years||9.0||—||244.0||131.9||5.0||389.9||16.74|
|6 to 0 years||4.0||—||159.2||54.7||6.7||224.5||9.64|
|Over 10 years||18.6||7.5||742.9||495.9||30.7||1295.6||55.61|
|Isle of Wight||No of posts||Percentage length of service|
|Less than 1 year||—||0.00|
|1 to 2 years||6.4||9.10|
|3 to 5 years||3.0||4.30|
|6 to 10 years||3.8||5.46|
|Over 10 years||56.7||81.15|
Information relating to recruitment advertising costs is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the lease will expire on the HM Revenue and Customs office in Newport, Isle of Wight; how many premises are under consideration for its relocation; and how many (a) full-time equivalent employees and (b) employees are expected to be accommodated in the premises being sought. 
Dawn Primarolo: The lease at 33 St. James Street, Newport, Isle of Wight will expire on 24 March 2006 although HMRC occupation of the building has been extended until 31 May 2006.
There are three premises under consideration for staff relocation, all located in Newport.
There are approximately 56 staff located at 33 St. James Street. HMRC also occupy 88/91 St. James St where approximately 14 staff are based. There is additional capacity in that building to accommodate another eight to 10 staff. The department is therefore looking to acquire a new building that can accommodate the balance, taking into account our projections of staff likely to remain on the island in both the short and long-term.