Junior Treasury Minister David Gauke says he cannot rule out voluntary redundancies for civil servants in Londonderry if new posts can’t be found as part of a redeployment process across the service.
The Minister said no redundancies have been offered but they could happen in future.
He was responding to a question from DUP MP Gregory Campbell.
The East Londonderry MPA asked if steps would be taken to ensure that HM Revenue and Customs staff based in Northern Ireland working on personal taxation matters and “scheduled to be offered voluntary redundancy terms” will be given the opportunity of being redeployed to benefits and credits employment.
Mr Gauke denied any redundancies were planned.
He told Mr Campbell: “HMRC has not offered any voluntary redundancies in Northern Ireland in the current financial year.
“However, this cannot be ruled out in the future if redeployment options cannot be found for staff in need of new roles.
“HMRC will work to redeploy these people to other business areas within the Department and across the wider civil service.
“Personal tax (PT) staff in Londonderry and Enniskillen entered HMRC’s redeployment pool in early June.
“People in the redeployment pool have priority status when applying for roles on level transfer across HMRC and the wider civil service, maximising their opportunity for a new job at their current grade.
“Additionally, people working in inquiry centres in PT across the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, who have not secured a role in the new service have also entered the redeployment pool.”
He confirmed that HMRC is currenty consulting on the closure of its Newry PT office, Custom House.
“None of HMRC’s lines of business intend to retain a presence there, and HMRC is in consultation on a proposed closure date for the office in 2015,” said Mr Gauke.
“Staff at Newry have been given the opportunity to enter the redeployment pool in advance of the outcome of the consultation due to be announced in September.
“While these people are in the pool, HMRC will do all it can to redeploy them within the Department or to help them find jobs elsewhere in the civil service,” he added.
HMRC recently slashed opening hours at Londonderry’s face-to-face Enquiry Centre on Duncreggan Road thus reducing the amount of time the 15 per cent of customers unable to resolve tax queries by internet or telephone can see staff.