One hundred Lanarkshire jobs are to be created at the rescued East Kilbride tax office.
HMRC today confirmed it is taking applications for the civil servant positions, after Lanarkshire Live broke the news this week that the under-threat site will remain in East Kilbride.
In a landmark victory for our ‘Stay in EK’ campaign, HMRC announced to delighted staff on Tuesday that the government department has reversed its decision to relocate to the city, securing around 2000 local jobs.
The East Kilbride tax office will be retained as part of its wider regional Glasgow centre.
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Public and commercial services union, PCS, said the move was “vindication” for their tireless campaign backed by the East Kilbride News which gained cross-party support.
Now, 100 customer services advisor jobs have been advertised with a starting salary of £21,249 – £22,084. Details can be found here.
The news that around 2000 high-value jobs will remain in South Lanarkshire was enthusiastically welcomed by South Lanarkshire Council this week.
Council Leader John Ross said it was “brilliant news” and the result of many years of discussion with HMRC that led to the reversal of a decision to close its tax office in East Kilbride and move most staff to Glasgow.
The positive outcome follows high-profile efforts, led by the council and trade unions, to make the case for keeping the East Kilbride office open.
A report in 2018 into the implications of closure noted that HMRC employment accounted for about eight per cent of the jobs in the town, and closure would mean East Kilbride’s economy would lose as much as £30.7 million a year.
Councillor Ross said: “It was devastating news for the town and for all of South Lanarkshire when HMRC originally suggested they would close the local office as part of wider restructuring across Scotland.
“The council immediately moved to do everything we could to get a rethink, working with the trade unions, community organisations, local elected politicians and others to make a solid case for a change of mind. It is brilliant news and I am beyond delighted that all of these efforts have been successful.
“It is of course wonderful news for all the staff who were facing the difficult choice of relocating or finding alternative employment, and it is a real boost for East Kilbride and all of South Lanarkshire.”
In a remarkable U-turn, HMRC said it believes basing the office in East Kilbride makes the “best sense”, stating its position has changed in response to the demands of Brexit, changes to Universal Credit and the Covid pandemic.
Council chief executive Cleland Sneddon added: “This is a real game-changer for East Kilbride, as these are good quality jobs with an excellent employer that would otherwise have been lost.
“It is a real testimony not just to the efforts to convince HMRC to change its plans, but also to the resilience of the local economy and the quality of the workforce.
“I am pleased to say that we continue to discuss with HMRC how they can maximize the benefits to the town, the workforce and the taxpayer from the decision to stay in South Lanarkshire.”
Graham Simpson, Conservative MSP for Central Scotland, also voiced his delight this week, describing the U-turn as “tremendous news”.
He said: “The decision to move from East Kilbride never made sense and there was rightly a cross-party campaign against it.
“I am absolutely delighted that after years of pressure the correct decision has finally been made. It is great news for the town and the workers at HMRC.”
And former East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani, who supported the ‘Stay in EK’ campaign from its inception in 2015, said she was “so pleased that common sense has prevailed”, adding: “It was obvious from the start that the East Kilbride HMRC skills should be retained in the town.
“Well donated to the EK News, PCS, elected members and all involved for the success of the ‘Stay in EK’ campaign.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.