City of York Council leaders have welcomed a ‘boost' for York’s Great British Railway (GBR) bid.

Experts estimate that moving the GBR HQ to York could add £110 million to York’s economy, creating 1,600 new jobs.

City of York Council has welcomed two new reports which boost the York bid, highlighting the importance of York’s rail sector and the opportunities the new HQ could bring.  

York's rail cluster is the largest outside of London and the south-east - it is valued at £356.3 million.

The York rail industry employs 5,200 people, with the proportion of highly skilled jobs in York higher than UK average levels. 

In a further boost to York’s bid, Northern Policy Foundation (NPF) has published a report which spells out a £600m risk to the government if it “fails to learn lessons from past civil service relocations” and makes clear that “if locations are not carefully selected moves can be disastrous”.

Their report finds that past moves have wrongly been driven by cost savings.

It calls for renewed effort to ‘level up’ through creating and moving high-quality, knowledge-based jobs, but not to ‘out of town business parks’ which might reduce costs but do not deliver all the desired benefits.

The report says that because relocation of jobs has sometimes been to unpopular places to live, it has caused a greater need to recruit new staff, leading to greater disruption to any move.

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said: "What is clear from this independent research is that if the government is to learn from previous relocations, then York’s strengths are obvious.

“Investment in this sector, at the centre of the Yorkshire and Humber economy, would represent a unique opportunity to deliver real levelling up, with a potential 1,600 jobs overall, and 320 of those in the 700 deprived communities within an hour’s train journey of York."

Councillor Carl Les, leader of the North Yorkshire County Council, added: "While that bid is strong enough to win on its own, it’s also been supported by six out of every 10 adults across the region and has received backing from businesses and key stakeholders across Yorkshire."

Tom Lees, director of the Northern Policy Foundation said: “If done well, the relocation of civil servants could be a powerful force for good, helping to create prosperity, new opportunities for people outside of the south-east and more diversity of thought within the civil service.

“However, if the lessons from the past are not learnt it will be an unmitigated disaster.

“Those yet to fully announce their new locations - like the Department for Health or Great British Railways - have the chance to learn from the six decades of evidence.”