FOUR hundred Teesside jobs will be lost next year after the Government announced plans to close its HMRC offices in Thornaby in September 2020.

As part of a 'Building Our Future' programme, 400 jobs will be moved from George Stephenson House in Thornaby to Longbenton, which is north of Newcastle.

A poll of the workforce suggested only four per cent would be able to make the three hour commute each day and most of them would have to take redundancy.

Today Stockton South MP Dr Paul Williams said: 'I've marched with local politicians and trade unionists, met workers and their representatives four or five times, have been to the Treasury to argue the case with Government Ministers, have written letters and have spoken loudly and clearly in debates in Parliament and have argued about this passionately on local radio and TV.

"But today the Government has finally announced that George Stephenson House, the HMRC tax office in Thornaby, will be closing in September 2020.

"This Conservative Government is prepared to see hundreds of local jobs disappear. Many of the people who work at HMRC do an amazing job, but are low-paid and work part time, fitting in work around their family lives as parents or carers.

"I'm so sorry that I haven't been able to make the Government listen to reason. But I won't give up. If we do have a General Election before the closure then Labour is committed to a review of the HMRC estate closure program. It is our only hope now."

PCS Union had previously warned the Government that the vast majority of the staff were unable to add three hours to their day by commuting to Longbenton.

Gordon Rowntree, HMRC worker at George Stephenson House, said:"'The workers here are all really disappointed that we haven't been listened to. We put our faith in the Government to listen to reason and value the workers here, who all have a wealth of experience. We've been let down badly and as many of us will be losing our jobs, the HMRC and the country will losing a huge amount of experience and expertise.

"The Government give no regard to workers in the North-East and this is the latest in a long line of failures, resulting in hundreds of jobs lost.

"We appreciate the work that local MPs have put into the campaign to save George Stephenson House and, in particular, Paul Williams - it's disappointing that this has fallen on deaf ears."