MP quizzes minister over plans to close Portsmouth’s tax office

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PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock says he is ‘not overly optimistic’ Wingfield House tax office will be saved from closure.

The government announced in May the Commercial Road centre will close by March 2015 as part of the spending review, with 500 staff being transferred to Lynx House in Cosham.

But yesterday Mr Hancock, and city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, met Treasury minister David Gauke and senior members of HMRC in a last ditch attempt to save the resource.

He said: ‘We made a number of points about the importance of keeping it open, and the fact that a lot of people that work there live locally.

‘There’s no parking around Lynx House or easy public transport links.

‘The minister listened and said he would get back to us. I’m not overly optimistic.’

Mr Hancock said Mr Gauke would not reveal how much money the government is looking to save through the closure, and confirmed HMRC is looking for ‘suitable accomodation’ in Portsmouth to house a fully maintained public access point for tax inquiries.