The Department for Transport (DfT) is create a second headquarters in Birmingham and a northern hub in Leeds.
The Government suggests that expanding DfT’s presence in the Midlands and the North will boost local economies as government builds back better from coronavirus (Covid-19)
The creation of a second HQ in Birmingham and a northern hub in Leeds form both part of plan to create 650 roles in the cities.
The move is part of a government commitment to diversify the civil service and is the latest step in the government’s drive to move 22,000 civil service roles from London to communities across the UK by 2030.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This is a historic move for the department and part of a significant wider culture change across Whitehall. Transport is absolutely vital to the local communities we serve and having hubs in major cities like Birmingham and Leeds will offer a fresh perspective on how we can better serve these areas.”
The Birmingham headquarters will include new ministerial offices, with ministers expected to spend a significant amount of time there as the government works to rebuild the UK. The news of DfT creating a northern hub in Leeds comes on the back of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also confirming that the UK’s first-ever infrastructure bank will also be based in the city.
The DfT has begun recruiting in Birmingham and Leeds, with 100 roles created so far. These includes senior civil servant positions, which otherwise would have been based in London, with attracting senior figures to these locations key to the success of the initiative.
The government has also announced that half of senior civil service roles will be located outside of London by 2030, addressing the current imbalance with the majority of senior roles being London-based.
The news was welcomed by local and regional political leaders. Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and leader of Bradford Council, said: “This is another positive investment recognising our region’s strengths, following the decision to locate the UK Infrastructure Bank here, bringing benefits not just to Leeds but Bradford and the wider region. I hope it will help us as we make the compelling case for future investment in our transport system, to better connect our communities and raise living standards while cutting carbon emissions.”
Cllr James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This shows once more the importance of Leeds, not just to our region but to the North of England and the UK. Investment in transport is central to our plans for the future. I hope the presence of more decision-makers in our city helps ensure the case for further investment in Leeds is heard.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The West Midlands has undergone a transport revolution in recent years, with the reopening of old railway lines, expanded tram routes, and an upgraded green bus fleet, along with the roll-out of e-scooters and a cycle-hire scheme.”
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