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Staff Relocation

Volume 168: debated on Monday 5 March 1990

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18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what progress has been made in relocating his Department's staff away from the London area.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 14 November 1989 to my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick), in which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that a substantial amount of the Department's work in London was to be relocated to Leeds. A site for the new headquarters building in Leeds has been identified, and I expect that the relocation of posts from London will begin from the end of 1991.

I give cautious thanks for that reply, for two reasons. First, is not my hon. Friend concerned that the hon. Gentleman who leads for the Opposition on this topic, the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher), seems to be in total opposition to the move from London to the midlands and the north, which represents a much-needed improvement of the economy and employment? Secondly, I should have hoped that any reasonable person would consider that the city of Nottingham was a much better place to go than the city of Leeds.

Nottingham was included among the possible locations for the move of the Department of Social Security. Leeds was decided upon after the most careful consideration of its advantages, which are many. Indeed, it was the first choice among the staff who had an interest in relocating.