Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott met with management from HMRC last week, following the announcement last November that the organisation is providing a voluntary exit scheme.
Mr Elliott said:
“There is obvious concern from staff at the affected offices at Enniskillen, Londonderry, Newry and Belfast that the real policy of management is that if significant numbers accept voluntary redundancy then the numbers of staff remaining at the offices will result in those offices being unsustainable.
“I put the suggestion to the managers at the meeting that this exit scheme was just the beginning of a process that would lead to further reduction in staff, a loss of local services and eventual closure of offices, all of which would be a serious blow to the community and economy.
“While the managers denied this, there is an obvious viewpoint that if the overall staff in HMRC nationwide will be reduced by almost 20% then the knock on effect of that is the possibility of office closures.
“When asked if the organisation had carried out an Equality Impact Assessment they accepted that had not yet been progressed. Given the areas that these job losses will be focused on, it will result in a disproportionate blow to the community and economy where they are located.
“Estimates suggest that the HMRC office in Enniskillen is worth in excess of £1.5m per annum to the local economy. That level of money circulating is not easy to replace.”