Despite the “level up” pledge, civil servants are the fastest growing in London

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The number of civil servants working in London is significantly higher than anywhere else in the past year, even though the Conservative minister has promised to shift Whitehall’s work from the capital as part of the “upgrade” agenda. Has increased.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019 Move thousands of officials Showed that the ministers and even their private offices may move to the region and in October 2020 to spread wealth across the country “To the big city in the north“.

Meanwhile, in March 2020, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to move 22,000 civil servants from central London by 2030 to ensure that the government will make different decisions in the future. bottom.

But the official numbers show that the opposite is happening. The number of civil servants in London increased by 11% from 91,660 to 101,930 in the year to March 2021, more than double that of other regions.

The numbers are awkward for Johnson as the Tories meet in Manchester for an annual meeting.

Professor Tony Travers, a public policy expert at the London School of Economics, said:

“These extraordinary numbers show how Britain is a centralized country, allowing ministers to escape the need for nearby officials to provide administrative services hourly and daily. You can not.”

Statistics said in the summer of 2020 Michael Gove said government officials needed to move away from London’s “inevitable metropolis” worldview and support a fresh life “from Mansfield to Middlesbrough to Mercer.” Tydfil, which is inconsistent with the speech of the former Cabinet Office Minister. “

However, since Gove himself first became Prime Minister in 2010, the balance of civil servants has changed significantly towards the capital under former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

Between 2010 and 2021, there was a net increase of 15,401 civil servants in London and a net decrease of 58,005 in other regions. Wales was the only other region where an increase of 561 was seen.

A bar chart of the overall percentage by region showing that London has increased its share of civil servant work over the last decade

During the austerity period of 2010-2015, the number of civil servants was significantly reduced, and then employment surged in the second half of the decade.

The significant increase in civil servants in London is partly due to the surge in the role of Brexit and then the capital city of Covid. Last year there was a major recruitment “sprint” for Test and Trace, Brexit migration, and “winter and coronavirus”.

A government spokesman said the ONS figures did not include hundreds of civil servants who had moved since March.

“We have already announced that we will transfer thousands of roles to sites across the UK, including Darlington, Glasgow and Wolverhampton,” he said.

Ministers are building a “Treasury North” economic campus in Darlington with “at least 750 roles.” The Ministry of Housing’s new Wolverhampton Outpost should have 800 employees, but not until 2030. Meanwhile, Glasgow’s new branch should have 500 employees by 2024.

A column chart of the annual rate of change in employment by region, showing that the decline in civil servant employment in London was much smaller during the austerity period.

Alex Thomas, program director at the Institute for Government (IfG), a think tank, said it would take time to “eradicate” staff as they need to procure a new site and provide appropriate personnel counseling. Stated.

Even if the snack could move 22,000 civil servants out of London by the end of the decade, it would leave the number of cities at about the same level as in 2011.

In addition, London still holds the majority of senior positions, with 35% of civil servants outside the capital at the lowest rank, compared to only 13% of the capital.

Thomas of IfG said that much of the work done in recent years is a low-skilled role at HM Revenue and Customs and the automated Department for Work and Pensions.

“What we’ve seen in the last few years is that in the event of a crisis or shock, civil servants will bring together more policymakers who need to be close to the minister,” he said. “Disseminating civil servants outside London was not a major priority.”

Jake Berry, chairman of the Northern Research Group of Tories on the back bench, called on the Prime Minister to provide a “complete overhaul” of Whitehall. He told the BBC that civil servants were “institutionally biased” in investing in southern England.

Steve Reid, the secretary of the Labor Shadow community, said the numbers indicate that the minister’s rhetoric is empty.

“This is the latest in a series of scams by the conservative government that are more interested in issuing press releases than actually correcting economic disparities between different regions of the country,” he said.

However, the record of the last Labor administration to delegate authority to the region also fell short of expectations.

A review by Sir Gilbert Fleming in 1963 and Sir Henry Hardman in 1973 sought to move civil servants out of the capital to save costs as much as to strengthen the local economy.

Hardman’s review called for the transfer of 31,500 employees from London, but was largely blocked by the Thatcher administration in 1979.

In 2003, then-Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked Sir Michael Lyons to write a review on how to move officials to the region.

Brown approved a Lions report calling for 20,000 civil servants to be located in remote areas of the country, similar to last year’s snacks.

This will save nearly a quarter of the 86,790 employees working in the capital at the time, saving £ 2 billion over 15 years.

That didn’t really happen. London’s civil servants were about the same size as 86,529 seven years later.

Despite the “level up” pledge, civil servants are the fastest growing in London

Source link Despite the “level up” pledge, civil servants are the fastest growing in London

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