TAXPAYERS have been left with a £600 million bill by HMRC – due to a botched bid to close dozens of offices and create new regional HQs.A damning report said HMRC had realised – having consulted with property companies – that new sites were not available in “some of its chosen locations”.And it faces far running costs, rental charges, and daily travel allowances as staff are forced to drive miles to the new sites.The overall cost of the new estate over 10 years will be some £600 million higher than expected two years ago at £3.2 billion, the National Audit Office said.In 2015 the Taxman announced plans to save a fortune by closing 137 buildings around the UK by 2021 and moving to 15 new ‘hubs’.But as well as a lack of suitable sites and higher costs, HMRC may also need to recruit 5,000 new staff to replace those quitting over the restructuring.NAO chief Amyas Morse said: “HMRC has acknowledge its original plan for the regional centres was unrealistic and is now re-considering the scope and timing of the programme.“It should step back and consider whether this strategy still best supports its wider business transformation.”Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer… Read full this story
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