The Cosham office in Northern Road was opened as a transitional site and was due to close in 2025/26, meaning that the workforce of almost 1,000 would have been relocated to one of the other regional centres. The news has come as a relief to its workers, who were facing uncertainty towards the future of their jobs.
Jim Harra, HMRC’s chief executive and first permanent secretary said: ‘I am pleased to announce the latest phase of HMRC’s locations strategy and HMRC’s long term commitment to keeping skilled jobs in Portsmouth. ’
Claire McGeckin, senior sponsor supporting the Portsmouth office said it’s been hard work getting to this point but she’s pleased both for the workers and for Portsmouth.
She said: ‘When we told everyone at lunch time they were absolutely chuffed, we got a round of applause and a lot of hoorays, and so far I haven’t picked up any bad news from anybody at all because it's a really nice centre to work in.’
Mark Sheridan, deputy investigator for the fraud investigation service will be the regional implementation lead for the Portsmouth centre, and said that the good news has settled a lot of uncertainty.
He said: ‘For a lot of people it undoes a number of years of uncertainty, we’ve not known but we’ve assumed that our building would close, so knowing now that there is a future for us in the locality but also more importantly that for Portsmouth there is a future for some really great jobs here.’
Neil Tucker, technical business manager at Lynx House said: ‘It’s really good news for us here and a great start to the year. There’s going to be lots of job opportunities, lots of recruitment going on and we’re excited to see what new office we could be going to, hopefully we’ll remain here but maybe there’ll be another office involved.’
The exact location of the centre is yet to be decided.
A civil servant from Roebuck House, which is located opposite Lynx House and faces closure later this year, said that the new regional centre will allow opportunities to remain working in the Civil Service after the closure of their office.
They said: ‘I personally welcome the HMRC announcement with Lynx House tax office remaining in Cosham. The closure of my DWP office this year could have potentially put 85 experienced staff out of a job. This gives us the opportunity to possibly apply and continue working within the Civil Service, also keeping jobs in the Portsmouth area. Both local MPs have also recently been supportive in trying to continue a local presence.’