An Ipswich tax office which has spent almost a quarter of a million pounds on fighting to remove bed bugs from the premises over two years has been heavily criticised by a union.

The HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) office in Brooke Lawrance House in Civic Drive has undergone many treatments to get rid of the bugs including steam cleans and sniffer dogs.

A total of £235,107 has been spent treating the issue that appeared at the office in the summer of 2022, and costs are ongoing although there has not been a bed bug sighting since January.

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote described the spending as “shocking”.

She said: “It’s shocking HMRC has spent this much money and still appears not to have resolved the problem.

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote criticised the spendingPCS general secretary Fran Heathcote criticised the spending (Image: PCS)

“They should have resolved it months ago – then they could have spent the remainder of the money on giving our hardworking members a pay rise.”

A HMRC spokesperson said the cost equated to about £450 per person over the two year period.

The spokesperson added: “The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and we’ve followed expert advice to treat and manage the bed bugs since they were first discovered.

“There have been no further sightings since January.”

Ms Heathcote said HMRC needed to get to the bottom of the problem to ensure members can work in a safe and clean environment.

She added: “Although this is primarily a work health and safety issue that’s detrimental to our members’ well-being, it can easily become a home issue too if our members unwittingly take bedbugs home with them.

“They can ill afford to spend a fortune clearing their house of a bedbug infestation that is not their fault, and neither should they expect to."

Brooke Lawrance House in IpswichBrooke Lawrance House in Ipswich (Image: Charlotte Bond)

The HMRC office rents out two and a half floors of the town centre’s AXA building. 

The formerly infested office block is currently up for sale for offers in excess of £15million.