Earlier today it was announced that the movement of offices, functions and staff from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in Sheffield (the largest outside of London) would definitely go ahead and as of January 2018 the offices would be in London.
The possibility of this happening was mentioned earlier this year but it’s just been confirmed.
So that’s 250 odd people on 18 months’ notice before they join the ranks of the unemployed. Now it’s nice having so much notice, most people get a month or so warning, but still, one of the reasons for the north wanting and needing help is the lack of investment and jobs outside of London.
Though to be fair the staff have been offered the option of moving down to London which would allow them to keep their jobs, of course that means moving the family as well (if they have one), leaving friends and neighbours, oh and actually being able TO AFFORD A HOUSE IN LONDON!
There is to be some sort of financial help for staff who want to move, enough to cover the difference between selling a home in Sheffield and buying a garden shed in London, or to cover the cost of moving? No one knows since the details haven’t been released yet. Presumably the staff that elects to move to London will be in for a big pay rise, what with all the problems and the extra cost of living inside the M25 containment zone.
But it’s likely most if not all of the staff will be out of work and still in Sheffield.
Bear in mind this is the biggest BiS officers outside of London, well it is for the next 18 months. But it’s not the only one and the others were told they could also be moved to London as part of an effort to save costs. The men and women and the offices responsible for developing the Northern Powerhouse.
Based in LONDON !
However. That saving costs thing. The government has admitted in parliament that it costs more than three times as much per person in rents, rates and costs to have a member of staff in an office in London as it does in Sheffield. Nearly £10,000 per person against £3,000. So all 250 staff, that’s £1,500,000+ more expensive and that’s before you include the London wages . That’s each year.
Sheffield Council have estimated that the total cost per year to move just this one office to London will be an extra £2,500,000.
Maybe not so much a cost saving.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said a few days ago, “the Northern Powerhouse is a serious long-term commitment and plans to relocate the Sheffield office were not a sign that we're hunkering down in the capital and turning our backs on the north".
Really. Because it sure looks like it.