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York looks to reap benefits of civil service relocations
A MASTERPLAN of potential sites where civil servants could be based in York is being drawn up by the city’s political chiefs.
Chancellor Alistair Darling promised in this week’s Budget that the number of London-based civil service posts was to be cut by a third, with 15,000 positions being relocated within the next five years.
And with York hoping to secure hundreds of those jobs, City of York Council leader Andrew Waller said the authority was drawing up a portfolio of available office space and land where they could be housed.
Coun Waller said: “The Budget announcement is a very positive sign and I have had meetings with Science City York and the university about how we can make a strong pitch for science and Defra jobs coming here.
“York has good transport links and quality of life, as well as high-quality schools, so it is a good place to relocate. We are putting together a portfolio of property and land which is available and ready to go to state our case for these jobs which are to be moved.
“It will include sites which have planning permission or where accommodation is already constructed, and it will allow us to go to the people making these decisions, ask them what their requirements are and where they need to be based, then show them what York has.
“I would also invite private landlords whether they would like to be part of the case we are putting together, as attracting these Civil Service jobs can help the private sector.”
Denise Stuart, chief executive of york-england.com, which aims to attract investment to the city, said Mr Darling’s decision to move the posts away from London to less-costly locations elsewhere was “a fantastic opportunity”. She said: “This could mean jobs for our people – we have to redouble our efforts and be one step ahead of the competition from local authorities all over the UK.”