Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 16.19.42MIDDLESBROUGH Mayor Dave Budd has today attacked the “ridiculous policy” to close HMRC offices on Teesside as being “economically illiterate”.

Mr Budd argues that the thousands of private sector job losses at SSI and Boulby Potash Mine – the latter announced on the same day as HM Revenue and Customs’ decision – makes the retention of public sector employment in the region a necessity.

HMRC announced yesterday (Thursday, November 12) that it would close offices in Middlesbrough and Stockton – which employ more than 700 people – over the next six years and relocate operations to Newcastle.

The Middlesbrough Mayor also said the cheaper land and property prices on Teesside mean it would be more economical for civil service jobs to be brought to this region.

He added: “The Government cannot blame the international market or the price of steel for this.”

Mr Budd said: “Following the huge job losses at SSI and its supply chain we now have further losses at Boulby Potash.

“There are arguments that a government with a manufacturing strategy rather than an aversion to intervention could and should have helped.

“Now we hear that HMRC are to withdraw from Middlesbrough and Stockton taking another 700 jobs away.

“This is unforgivable and economically illiterate. The Government cannot blame the international market or the price of steel for this. They can and should relocate such civil service employment to our area not just take it away.

“We have land and property much cheaper than the alternative locations. More importantly we have people here with abilities and this is a great place to live as we have proved to many businesses and individuals who have come here over the years.

“The Government cannot blame anybody else for this and must change this ridiculous policy.”

In Middlesbrough 244 people are employed at HMRC centres on Russell Street and Eustace House and in Stockton 475 people are employed at its George Stephenson House office in Thornaby.

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