Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain, has today hit out at the Government for continuing to break their promises on levelling up Bradford after HMRC confirmed that they would be pulling out of the city in 2027.
As part of their plans to reduce the size of the HMRC estate, HMRC bosses announced in November 2015 that they would be closing their offices in Bradford to create a new regional hub in Leeds. In March 2020, HMRC then announced that they would continue to keep the Centenary Court office in Bradford open as a transitional site, but only until 2027, at which point the site would be closed.
Since 2015, Imran has continued to campaign for HMRC to abandon plans for the closure of Bradford’s HMRC offices and the creation of a regional hub in Leeds in favour of a hub in Bradford, arguing that the site keeps hundreds of high-skilled, well-paid jobs in Bradford, and helps encourage further investment in the city whilst being cheaper for HMRC to operate than a hub in Leeds.
Following HMRC’s announcement that they would remain in Bradford until 2027 and given the Government’s commitment to a levelling up agenda of public sector investment in left-behind regions such as Bradford, as well as the impact on HMRC’s workload caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, Imran wrote to the Chief Executive of HMRC in January this year to urge HMRC to commit to a permanent presence in Bradford beyond 2027.
However, HMRC’s Director of Estates & Locations Programme has confirmed that the Centenary Court office in Bradford would indeed close in 2017, despite the Government’s recently announced Levelling Up White Paper.
Speaking on HMRC’s confirmation that they would be leaving Bradford in 2027, Imran said:
“At the last election this Government committed to a programme of investment into left behind regions like Bradford, with plans to move public sector jobs out of London and into the rest of the country, yet once again, it feels like Bradford is being deliberately overlooked and ignored by Ministers.
“If the Government really was serious about levelling up and if they wanted this policy to be more than just a soundbite, they would act to keep the HMRC office and the good, skilled jobs that it provides in Bradford, but as it stands, they’re just guilty of once more breaking their promises of levelling up.