§ Mr. Hanley
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the site or sites for the proposed relocation of Customs and Excise headquarters work from London and the south-east have yet been decided; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ryder
Having fully considered the work of an internal review team on potential relocation sites, together with the views expressed by staff and the departmental trade union side in a consultation exercise, the Paymaster General and the Board of Customs and Excise have decided that Liverpool and the Manchester area should receive the relocated posts. A synopsis report of the work of the internal review team will be placed in the Library.
Accordingly, over the next three to four years, some 1,250 VAT posts will be transferred to Liverpool from Southend whilst the Manchester area will receive about 430 posts from London. In addition, I expect these 201W changes to produce significant benefits both in terms of costs and staffing. Accommodation costs in particular will be reduced, and the opportunities for recruitment and retention of staff outside the problem area of the south-east will be substantially improved. At least 1,300 of these jobs will be available for filling locally which will give a boost to the economy of the north-west of England in accordance with the regional and inner city policies of Her Majesty's Government.
In addition, as part of the phased relocation exercise, a further 250 or so existing posts will be transferred from London to Southend to offset the 1,250 posts being moved to Liverpool.