MORE than 1,000 employees will be “left in limbo” after plans to relocate the revenue and customs centre in Southend have fallen through, a union has claimed.

Last month, HM Revenue and Customs announced to staff in Alexander House, Victoria Street, Southend, that the work of the IT units in the building would now be moved out of the south east when the tax office closes.

Previously, the plan had been to move them to a centralised office in Stratford, East London, while those who were unable to relocate would face redundancy.

As a consequence of the most recent announcement, IT staff – who are currently working on a series of high profile Brexit-related IT systems – will find themselves facing redundancy.

Stuart Holttum, secretary for the PCS Branch union, said: “HMRC has tried to spin this as good news because they hold out the possibility of staying in Alexander House for a period longer than the current plans.

“But at the end of it, the work will move away and the people won’t have a job to go to.

“Additionally it could also affect those who don’t work in IT.

“Although plans still show that the work moves to Stratford, HMRC has now realised it can’t afford a big enough building in Stratford so there is no certainty that there is actually enough space for the people who work in Southend.

“The union is not only concerned about the impact on our people but on the Southend area with more than1,000 jobs going.”

The union fears that as a consequence there is a danger that changes and systems needed as the UK leaves the European Union will fail to be ready when needed.

Mr Holttum added: “On top of everything, whatever our view on Brexit is - this must have an impact on making it a success.

“If the IT systems that underpin it have their development jeopardised by the HMRC decision to throw the IT specialists on the scrap heap while development is still on going, there will be an impact.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC is transforming into a smaller, more highly-skilled organisation offering modern, digital services.

"In November 2015, HMRC announced a ten-year transformation programme to create a tax authority fit for the future, by creating 13 new modern regional centres serving every nation and region in the UK.

“HMRC will do everything it can to support both its people in relocating to the regional centres and in trying to find alternative solutions for those that can’t.

"HMRC wants to keep as many of its staff as possible and expects that 90 per cent of its current workforce will either work in a regional centre or see out their career in an HMRC office.”