26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: PS exodus from London planned

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Provisions have been made in the United Kingdom Budget for the transfer of 22,000 Public Servants out of London over the next decade.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak said hundreds would be relocated to a new base in the north of England.

Mr Sunak said he intended to “change the whole mindset of Government” by ensuring “economic decision-making reflects the economic geography of the country”.

He also said the Treasury would spread new job openings around the country.

“While talent is evenly spread, opportunity is not and we will fix that,” Mr Sunak said.

“We’re opening a new economic campus in the north with over 750 staff from the Treasury and the Departments for Business, Local Government and Trade.”

He said individual Departments were deciding which roles would be based outside of the capital and the Cabinet Office was overseeing the process.

Head of the FDA union which represents senior Public Servants, Dave Penman said the plan would require coordination across Government to ensure it was more than just “dropping a thousand jobs in a northern town”.

“We have been here before so I’m slightly sceptical,” Mr Penman said.

“There are questions about what these Civil Servants are going to do,” he said.

“You need to create hubs so people can build their careers outside of London.”

“If they are serious about geographic opportunity and distributing the Civil Service across the UK, creating a Whitehall of the north is a good thing — but it can’t just be plonking down jobs for the sake of it.”

Eventually, 20 per cent of the Treasury’s workforce will be based outside of Whitehall. Government insiders said the aim was to help reshape the Treasury’s mindset to reinforce Downing Street’s aim of tackling regional inequality.

The moves will cover all grades of the Public Service, including senior staff, to ensure that the campus is more than an outpost. The Treasury will also open offices in Wales and Northern Ireland.

London, 13 March 2020

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