Martin Horwood MP meets with minister in attempt to save HMRC services in Cheltenham

December 3, 2008 5:30 PM

In a last ditch attempt to protect the services of the HMRC offices for the people of Cheltenham, Martin Horwood MP met today with Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The government will tomorrow be announcing intentions to cut the number of offices in the south west in an attempt to make the service more efficient. Martin is concerned that this will result in a poorer service for local taxpayers.

Martin also raised concerns about the impact of planned relocation of many functions to Stroud or Gloucester. Martin commented "I am very concerned about the impact on staff and their families if HMRC workers are forced to commute to Stroud or Gloucester. When families have child care commitments, these will have to be taken into account."

Stephen Timms did commit to keeping an enquiry centre in Cheltenham, either at Parabola Road, or within walking distance. He also assured Martin that these changes would not be implemented immediately and made clear that the government are committed to maintaining the enquiry centre service that exists at the moment.

However, the minister could not give any assurances that the opening hours of the enquiry centre that would remain in Cheltenham would stay the same, nor could he guarantee the availability of expert staff to deal with complex problems. Martin said "It will be disappointing for the people of Cheltenham if the excellent service currently offered by the staff in Parabola Road is not maintained."