Survey of staff found job cuts would take £1m a year out of local economy

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PCS members campaigning against the threatened closure of a Portsmouth tax office have calculated it could cost the local economy almost £1m a year if the plan goes ahead.

Union reps surveyed staff at the city centre building and contacted numerous local traders amid fears that 400 jobs would be at risk if the Wingfield House site is closed as planned in 2015.

The survey found 400 staff would spend more than £850,000 a year in local shops, cafes, restaurants and gyms.

HMRC officials say they plan to relocate staff from Portsmouth city centre office to a second office, Lynx House in Cosham.

The two offices employ close to 1,500 staff, but PCS believes there is not enough space to accommodate them all.

Branch organiser, Dave Hansford, told UnionNews: “If they can make it [Lynx House] into some kind of Tardis, that’d be fine, but we don’t believe it can hold all the staff currently working at Wingfield House and so we think HMRC plans to cut the workforce as part of the move.”

The PCS campaign has secured the support of local MPs and the city council, which is concerned at the potential loss of business to traders and the threat of units being forced to close at a time when the local economy is already feeling the effects of the economic squeeze.

The union’s survey of staff working at Wingfield House found they used local sandwich shops and supermarkets every day.

An average of £46.45 a week is spent in local outlets, rising to £56 in the nearest supermarket.

Patrick Smyth, who works at Wingfield House and is chair of the Portsdown Vectis branch, which covers the two offices, said: “Closing Wingfield House would be a major blow to Portsmouth, not just for staff but also for the public and traders.

“At a time when we are told that tackling our economic problems is the number one priority it makes absolutely no sense to throw 400 people out of work and take almost £1m from the local economy.

“We are determined to fight to prevent this from happening.”


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