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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SALMOND AND WHITEFORD SLAM PETERHEAD HMRC DECISION

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Responding to the news that the Peterhead HMRC Office at Keith House is to close in the coming financial year (2010/11) and that staff will have to take a decision on whether or not to accept redundancy by 8 February, Banff & Buchan MP Alex Salmond said:

“Keith House is a centre of excellence in handling the tax affairs of the fishing industry. Once these specialist staff either move on or take redundancy, their expertise will be lost to the industry and to HMRC forever.

“This is a ludicrous and short-sighted decision. I’m sorry that the compelling business case presented by the HMRC staff and the appeals of local politicians has fallen on deaf ears in the Treasury.

“It seems that everyone can see the logic of retaining these specialist staff in Peterhead except for senior HMRC management and the Ministers themselves.”

SNP Westminster Candidate for Banff and Buchan, Eilidh Whiteford, added:

“While it’s not a surprise that HMRC has announced that it intends to go ahead with the closure, it’s no less disappointing for that. My thoughts are with the workers who are affected and their families.

“The staff in the Peterhead office have provided an efficient and effective service to the whole community for many years, and it beggars belief that the knowledge and relationships they have built up in the fishing industry can be discarded so lightly by HMRC.

“The proposed part-time replacement ‘face to face’ service will be an extremely poor substitute for the accessibility and expertise of the tax staff in Keith House.”

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