HMRC seeks to axe workers’ childcare

Ross Saunders

Close to 100 children, parents and workers protested against the closure of the First Friends nursery at HMRC Llanishen in Cardiff.

Management is demanding the closure of eight nurseries at sites across Britain. HMRC’s official reason is that demand for nursery places is falling. That drew gasps of disbelief from parents in Cardiff. One worker, whose children have just finished at the nursery, told the Socialist that there are 113 children registered at that site alone. Many suspect that Mapeley, the private company that now runs HMRC sites, wants to sell the space to a more lucrative business and charge higher rents.

Other workers suspected that this was an attempt by HMRC to encourage more staff to quit or accept further redundancies. All were very angry that children were being targeted in this way. HMRC’s claim to be “family-friendly” drew laughs of derision from gathered protesters.

Deb Law, a PCS member who works on site, said: “My parents live two and a half hours away. I don’t know what I would have done without the nursery when my kids were young.

“They do a great job: my kids left knowing how to share, how to stand in line, their colours, the alphabet – they were really well-prepared for school.”

Cardiff Against the Cuts activists will call on councillors to pressure HMRC, as part of the lobby against cuts on Thursday 27 September, 3.30pm at County Hall, Cardiff Bay.