The potential closure of three tax offices employing hundreds of people in Bootle was labelled a “kick in the teeth” for the community.

Andy Miligan, 44, licensee of the Hyperbar next to the Triad Building, said: “It’s another kick in the teeth for Bootle and the area will lose out massively.

“I think its wrong and it doesn’t just affect Bootle and its business, it’s effecting everyone. Of course I’m worried, how much more do they want Bootle to sink?”

Sadik Patel, 46, who works at the News Factor store in the nearby Strand Shopping Centre, added: “It’s going to have a major impact – I’m the nearest newsagents – not just on my paper sales, a lot of staff come here, they come in the morning for their cigarettes and they come for their sandwiches.”

Tracy Doughty, 49, director of Best Wishes cards and gifts, also claimed her business would suffer.

She said: “Loads of ladies and fellas come here, it will definitely affect us and loads of others as well. If there’s ever any office birthdays or someone’s leaving, they come to us and we put kits and cakes together.”

Shoe Market employee Christine Johnson added: “There’s going to be quite a lot of unemployed over there. We get quite a lot of the workers in here and it’ll definitely effect our sales, they all come for their work shoes.”