HMRC doesn’t know how many staff the Scotland Office has working in the UK Government’s Edinburgh hub, The National can reveal.

We previously told how the Scotland Office refused our initial Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking for the number of staff permanently based in Queen Elizabeth House in the capital at the end of last year - claiming they did not hold the information.

The department told us to contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as the building managers instead.

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The National lodged an FOI request and has now been told by HMRC that they do not hold the data on the number of staff working in the hub from other departments, including the Scotland Office.

Instead, they confirmed that just over 2100 HMRC staff members are officially based at the offices in Sibbald Walk.

The office building is understood to have the capacity to house 3000 civil servants, but our attempts to find out how many staff working for Scottish Secretary Alister Jack are based there have been repeatedly rebuffed.

The SNP said the public had the right to know what “purpose the building is serving”, particularly after we previously revealed it costs £11 million to run each year.

The National:

It also comes after it emerged the Scotland Office’s spending on staff soared to more than £1m.

The Scotland Office has several staff based at Dover House in Whitehall, London.

In December, we asked the Scotland Office how many staff members are currently based at the Edinburgh HQ, as well as their salary grades.

In response, the Scotland Office said they were “one of many” UK Government departments working out of the building.

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“FOI enquiries regarding the total number of civil servants permanently working in Queen Elizabeth House should be directed to HMRC (as the building managers),” they added.

The National then asked HMRC how many staff from different UK Government departments work in Queen Elizabeth House, in particular the Scotland Office, as well as their salary grades.

“We can confirm we hold data only for HMRC staff based at Queen Elizabeth House, Edinburgh,” the FOI response reads.

The National:

“We can’t provide any data for any other government departments based at this office.”

An SNP source said: "From the very start Queen Elizabeth House has served as nothing other than an expensive UK Government PR stunt.

“Taxpayers are funding this office to the tune of over £10 million a year - it is only right the public know what purpose this building is serving.

“Valuable money is being wasted that would be better spent on the NHS, public sector pay deals, and supporting people through the cost of living crisis."

HMRC did reveal that more than 2100 of its staff are currently housed in the building.

To allow staff to remain as “unidentified as possible”, they would only reveal that less than 10 admin assistants, earning £24,004, and senior civil servants (SCS), earning between £81,420 and £160,941, from HMRC work from the hub.

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Elsewhere, there are 736 assistant officers with salaries of £24,278, 443 officers, paid between £28,341 and £30,323 and 493 higher officers, with salaries between £35,092 and £37,725.

There are 228 senior officers (£42,618-£45,831), 166 employees at grade 7 (£54,439-£64,026) and 48 grade 6 staff (£67,800-£74,018).

We previously told how HMRC revealed that the gross operating costs for the building between April 2022 and March 2023 were £935,049 per month, a total of £11,220,585 for the financial year.

Staff first moved into Queen Elizabeth House in 2020, but it was not officially opened until 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.