Telford digital centre boosts jobs hopes as minister cuts ribbon
A new digital projects office opened in Telford could help to secure the future of one of the town's major employers.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, visited the town to cut the ribbon on the new Digital Delivery Centre which will help develop new digital services for HM Revenue and Customs.
It is the fourth centre of its type in the country, following others in Newcastle, Shipley in Yorkshire, and London. Its opening of the new centrewill help secure 200 jobs for the town, and will be used to help improve the tax office's online services.
"This is a vote of confidence in Telford," Mr Gauke said. "It's securing 200 jobs in the Telford office.
"I've head a lot about the strengths of Telford, and the highly-skilled workforce here. The Digital Delivery Centre is a place that brings together a lot of expertise and is designed to help innovate new products and services for tax payers."
There had been concerns about the long-term future of HMRC's relationship with Capgemini in Telford, and as yet there has been no announcement on how the contract between the two is shaped after 2017.
But Mr Gauke added that the opening of the centre, in Plaza Two in Ironmasters Way, would help ensure the long-term future of Capgemini in the town. The centre is being run by Capgemini for HMRC, and the French services giant will also be able to use it for other contracts.
"In circumstances where we need to be more innovative and move more quickly, the contract may have been right for 2010 but it's not necessarily right for the current circumstances," Mr Gauke said after touring the new facility, which has seen an investment worth around £300,000 so far, alongside Telford MP Lucy Allan.
"We need something better for the tax payer all round. Where we end up and the nature of the arrangement for HMRC expenditure after 2017, that's something we are developing but that has now reached final conclusions. What I would say is that digitial is going to be really important, and Telford is at the heart of our digital vision for HMRC."
He said: "People should take the announcement as an indication of how important was see Telford as a place in which to develop digital ideas." About 3,000 people are employed on HMRC contracts in Telford, between Capgemini and Fujjitsu.
Telford MP Lucy Allan added: "We have to be cautious not to create any anxiety – losing 3,000 jobs is never going to happen, and a lot of expertise is here. We want to keep it here as we want to build on it for the future."
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