Local MP fights for local jobs

Hannah Bardell MP has continued her campaign to secure HMRC jobs in Livingston with a direct question to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons.

Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, Ms Bardell said: “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs employs more than 1,000 vital staff in my Livingston constituency. Despite widespread criticism from the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee, and despite Livingston having the most engaged and productive staff, the Prime Minister’s Government is determined to move jobs from Livingston to Edinburgh. Staff do not want to move there and rental costs will be higher.

“To compound that, last week Ethicon announced that 400 jobs are set to go at its Livingston site. Will the Prime Minister therefore change her mind on HMRC jobs in Livingston, and meet me to ensure that public sector jobs that are vital to Livingston stay in Livingston?”

The response from PM Theresa May was, according to Ms Bardell, “appalling”, who added that the PM had replied with information about the process rather than addressing the specific question.

The PM replied to Ms Bardell with the following: “HMRC is indeed relocating from 170 outdated offices to 13 large, modern regional centres. The new centres will be equipped with the digital infrastructure and facilities that are needed to build a ​more highly skilled and flexible workforce, to enable the modernisation of ways of working, make tax collection more efficient and effective, and bring significant improvements to HMRC’s customer services.”

Speaking after PMQs, Ms Bardell said she would ramp up her campaign and would write to the Prime Minister to repeat her request for a meeting.

“That was an appalling and inappropriate response from PM Theresa May to my question about securing HMRC jobs in Livingston,” said Ms Bardell. “She failed to answer my question, instead choosing a stock response about the process, so I will be writing to her to continue my efforts to get her to change her mind and keep these jobs in my constituency.”

“Apart from anything else, the Pyramids site where most staff are located is a high tech site and one of the best in the UK, the Livingston staff are highly skilled, productive and engaged. To suggest otherwise is deeply offensive and simply untrue.”