COMPLEX issues surrounded by uncertainty were commonplace during the first independence referendum campaign. But, Scottish Labour MP and future party leader Jim Murphy assured us: “This isn’t one of them.”

The Better Together campaigner and his allies were empathic in declaring that there was only one real certainty after a Yes vote – that as many as 1400 hard-working Scots, employed in the Cumbernauld tax office, would lose their jobs.

In one brief demonstration outside the HMRC site, Murphy was photographed alongside another future Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, declaring: “1400 jobs at HMRC in Cumbernauld are dependent on us staying in the UK.”

The Scottish Government had promised no compulsory redundancies, and similar roles for those workers post-independence in Revenue Scotland. But, Better Together said in one tweet, such a “glib … vague assurance” was not good enough.

READ MORE: LIVE in Cumbernauld as HMRC office shuts down despite Better Together promises

The No campaign focused some of its key efforts on the Cumbernauld site, then the UK’s largest tax office.

With just days to go until referendum day, then-Labour leader Ed Miliband headed to Scotland in a last attempt to shore up support for the Union. He went straight to Cumbernauld. Miliband, along with Murphy and Sarwar, had used fears over the loss of the tax office jobs if Scotland voted Yes to urge people to support the Union.

It didn’t matter that the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union, which represented roughly 1000 of the HMRC’s workers, supported a Yes vote. In fact, PCS branch chair John Miller told The National, it meant Labour wouldn’t come “anywhere near” them.

Speaking in Parliament, less than two months ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, Labour MP Gregg McClymont said 1400 UK Government-funded workers at the Cumbernauld tax office were proof of a “HMRC jobs dividend”.

Echoing the “UK dividend” rhetoric then coming from the Treasury run by a Tory-LibDem coalition, McClymont said the benefits of remaining in the UK to his then constituency were “surely uncontroversial – a fact, not an opinion”.

Tax office closures were already happening at pace as McClymont spoke, with almost 40,000 HMRC jobs having been cut in the previous nine years and further offices – including at Scottish sites – earmarked to close. Nevertheless, David Gauke, the then Tory financial secretary to the Treasury, stressed that this restructuring was only focused on smaller sites, meaning “new opportunities are opening up” for others, “including in the Cumbernauld constituency”.

In 2015, the HMRC announced the Cumbernauld site would close. The UK Government said the 17 Scottish sites would be cut down to just two, with plans to cut as many as 2300 staff in the process.

READ MORE: Better Together ‘betrayal’ of HMRC Cumbernauld staff revealed as site shuts

Green MSP for Central Scotland Gillian Mackay said Unionist parties had “worked hand in hand to betray the staff” at the tax office. She added: “Across central Scotland we are all too familiar with the feeling of being mothballed by successive UK Governments without the investment in a transition for the local economy. Now, for all their hollow talk of ‘levelling up’, the UK Government has turned its back on Cumbernauld. I look forward to the day our communities can turn their back on the UK Government as part of a new fairer, greener European country.”

Adam Smith, an SNP council candidate and PCS representative who was employed at the Cumbernauld site, said the promises about HMRC jobs were “like The Vow”.

“It was all about trying to get people to vote against independence,” Smith said. “It was just that they were using HMRC as a bargaining chip.”

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “It is pathetic for the Greens to use these jobs as a political football. They have done nothing to help workers secure their incomes.”