GOVERNMENT plans to close tax offices in Middlesbrough and Thornaby – putting 900 jobs at risk – are being fought by Teesside MPs.

As part of a cost-cutting campaign by the government, 90 per cent of HMRC offices will be closed by 2021.

Workers are being offered the chance to work in other tax offices in Newcastle, but this is at least a three-hour round journey every day, according to the Public and Commercial Services Union.

Now local Labour MPs Alex Cunningham, Andy McDonald, Anna Turley, Mike Hill and Dr Paul Williams have sent a collective letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In it they say the best way to secure a high quality-service, as well as the jobs, is to ensure the offices at George Stephenson House in Thornaby, along with those on Russell Street and Grange Road in Middlesbrough, stay open.

Dr Williams, Stockton South MP, said: "Moving HMRC jobs to Newcastle does not make sense for staff or for the quality of service.

"900 local people would effectively lose their jobs and HMRC would lose all of their expertise.

"We need diligent and experienced HMRC staff to tackle the £120bn tax gap and should be investing in more people rather than losing those workers."

Mr McDonald, Middlesbrough MP, said: "It is vindictive and breathtakingly short sighted for the government to visit more job losses on Teesside. The result is the loss of yet more highly skilled work for the people of our area." He pledged to fight "tooth and nail".

MPs said Stockton High Street would also feel the pain of a £2m shortfall in custom per year from the workers at George Stephenson House.There will be a rally of support to keep the offices open in Stockton on the 21st of October.

Lin Homer, HMRC chief executive, said there were too many 'expensive, isolated and outdated offices.

She said at the time of the announcement: "The new regional centre in Newcastle will bring our staff together in a modern and cost-effective building.

"It will also make a big contribution to the economy of the North-East, providing high-quality, skilled jobs."