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Tax offices in Kent to be shut as HMRC streamlines service into regional centres in Stratford and Croydon

PUBLISHED: 12:40 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:40 12 November 2015

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Office in Canterbury, Chatham, Gravesend and Maidstone will all close over next six years

Tax offices across Kent and the south east are to be closed as part of the next stage of a major modernisation programme by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), it was confirmed today.

Offices in Canterbury, Chatham, Gravesend and Maidstone will all close over the next five to six years, with regional centres set up instead.

There will also be a specialist site in Dover.

HMRC’s workforce in the south east is currently spread throughout 43 offices. It says many of which are a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which range in size from around 2,000 people to fewer than ten.

HMRC chiefs say that by bringing them together in large, modern offices, HMRC will support more skilled jobs and varied career paths up to senior levels with less need to move around the country.

HMRC expects between 5,000 and 5,300 full-time equivalent employees to work in the Stratford regional centre and 2,500 to 2,800 full-time equivalent employees in the Croydon regional centre.

The modernisation programme, now at the halfway point, has previously included investment in new online services, data analytics and new compliance techniques.

Where offices are a long way from a regional centre and it is not possible for employees to move to work in one, HMRC will do everything it reasonably can to help them to find new roles, either elsewhere in the civil service, or outside, in order to minimise redundancies.

Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, said: “HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and out-dated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.

“The new regional centres in Stratford and Croydon will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents. They will also make a big contribution to the economy of the region providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment to a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”

The list of offices to close in Kent (and the date of the closure) is as follows:

Canterbury (2019-20)

Chatham (2016-17)

Gravesend (2019-20)

Maidstone (2020-21)

Dover will become a specialist site while the Erith office is under a separate review.

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