HC Deb 17 June 2004 vol 422 cc901-2
7. Mr. Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow) (Lab)

If he will make a statement on the future of the Inland Revenue office in Hebburn. [179128]

The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo)

The Inland Revenue building in Hebburn is due to be vacated in March 2005. That is part of a long-term strategy to develop the Newcastle estate that began in 1995 to rationalise the number of sites in Tyneside. The building in Hebburn is leased and the lease will expire in June 2006. The building will be fully vacated in March 2005 and the current plans are that it will be used for contingency purposes between then and the expiry of the lease.

Mr. Hepburn

As part of those plans, 700 jobs will be relocated from Hebburn to Newcastle, which is not only an outright waste of money, but will do the utmost damage to the shopping centre and the local economy in Hebburn. Will my right hon. Friend review the plans, and is she willing to meet a small delegation from the constituency to discuss the matter further?

Dawn Primarolo

As I explained to my hon. Friend, the plans have been under discussion since 1995, in order to provide modern accommodation for the Inland Revenue and the Department for Work and Pensions. Those Departments are committed to remain and to employ people from the south Tyneside region, and there will be no job losses as a result of the relocation. I know that my hon. Friend has followed the matter keenly, and I would be more than happy to meet him to review a constructive way forward for the redevelopment of the site—a subject that I know he has raised with other Ministers.