Levelling up plan
Civil service jobs leave London to boost ‘union bond’
New Waverley in Edinburgh is home to UK civil service jobs
Almost 3,000 civil service jobs will be relocated outside London and the South-East as part of Boris Johnson’s plan to “level up” the UK and “strengthen the bonds of the union”.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will have an initial 865 roles outside the south east, rising to 1,350 by 2025. It said 60 will based in Edinburgh with an unspecified number in Aberdeen.
Salford in Greater Manchester will be the biggest beneficiary with 420 posts, followed by Birmingham with 325.
The Home Office, which already has more than 40% of its workforce outside London and South East, is expanding its regional presence by at least 1,950 roles, some in Scotland.
UK government ministers will also spend more of their time in other parts of the country.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Home Secretary Priti Patel made the announcement today as part of a cross-Government move – the Places for Growth scheme. Its aim is to ensure policymakers reflect the communities they serve, while levelling up by ensuring economic growth and job opportunities are more evenly distributed across the UK.
Kwasi Kwarteng: ‘doubling down’
Home Office presence including senior civil service roles, under Places for Growth is expected to increase in smaller cities and large towns that also include Stoke-on-Trent, Peterborough and Solihull as well as in metropolitan locations and in the devolved administrations including Sheffield, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and Edinburgh.
The Home Office is also in the process of establishing a new Innovation Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, which will accommodate case-working roles and an Asylum hub.
The BEIS workforce will grow in Salford, Birmingham, Cardiff and Darlington, and expanded to Belfast and Edinburgh, with an ambition to build a presence in Preston in the longer term.
The government said the plan will ensure the Business and Energy Department, responsible for areas including business growth, industrial policy, renewable energy, science, research and development, and employment rights, is represented by policymakers operating across all four corners of the UK, “strengthening the bonds of Union”.
Mr Kwarteng said: “We are doubling down on our commitment to level up every region of the UK, so that every part of the country can share in the UK’s future prosperity.
“Our policy developers and decision-makers must reflect the communities they serve. Relocating these civil service roles will ensure central government hears the voice of local communities louder and clearer than ever before, while creating hubs of economic opportunity and growth across the UK.”
Ms Patel said: “Day in day out thousands of Home Office staff work tirelessly to keep the public safe, cut crime, and improve our immigration system.
BEIS civil service roles will be shifted through natural turnover creating jobs in regional offices as and when vacancies arise from London, meaning current staff will not be required to relocate from London unless they want to do so. The Business Department will draw on a combination of regional offices and flexible working to ensure an efficient spread of roles.
This announcement will also see both the Business Secretary, Home Secretary and other government ministers spending an increasing amount of time outside London, ensuring local communities feel better represented and providing new opportunities to better tailor policies to meet regional needs.
As part of the Government’s commitment to levelling up every region of the UK, the Chancellor announced at Budget 2020 that the Government would shift 22,000 civil service jobs out of London by the end of the decade – with a target for 25% of roles to be outside London by 2025.
Today’s announcement sees both departments committing to going above and beyond this goal with the Home Office expecting to significantly expand its diverse regional representations, while BEIS aims to exceed this goal with 30% of BEIS roles to be outside of Westminster by 2025.
The latest announcement follows a cross-government drive to bring jobs to regions, with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government establishing a new headquarters in Wolverhampton, and the Cabinet Office and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office bringing new jobs to Scotland.
BEIS will also be joining up with the Treasury and other government departments at the new Economic Campus in Darlington, which was announced by the Treasury earlier this year.