HMRC opens for business at new Belfast regional hub

Gary McDonald Business Editor

MORE than 1,500 workers at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) moved into plush new office surroundings in Belfast city centre yesterday.

Erskine House on Chichester Street is the third of 13 new regional centres due to open across the UK as part of the government's Hubs programme.

HMRC announced in 2015 that it was closing all its regional offices across the north and creating a single central facility in Belfast.

It is believed to be one of the biggest office rental deals in the city, and the cost of the project has been estimated at £10 million.

The eight-storey hi-tech building, constructed by Hillsborough contractor Graham, will be home to around 1,600 employees and will allow the tax office to work in new ways, delivering an effective service for customers and providing a modern and collaboratively working environment for civil servants.

HMRC will be the main occupant of 104,052 sq ft of prime office accommodation in Erskine House, and it claims it will save more than £300 million by 2025 and will make annual savings of around £90 million by 2026.

Jim Harra, chief executive and first permanent secretary of HMRC, said: “The opening of Erskine House as the Belfast Regional Centre marks an important milestone on a journey to transform the way we operate and interact with our customers.

“This modern building will bring teams together so they have the opportunity to work differently and more effectively. Crucially, it will also deliver an efficient service for our customers, making HMRC a tax authority fit for the future.”

Michael Graham, group executive chairman at Graham, said: "We were delighted to be awarded the building and interior fit out contracts for this prestigious building. We hope that the state of the art and collaborative workspace will be a great place for HMRC employees to work.

“Erskine House is an iconic Belfast project and we were thrilled to play an instrumental role in reinvigorating this city centre space.”

After Belfast, HMRC will soon be opening regional centres in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Leeds.

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