Our assessment showed that any employment impacts arising from outsourcing are likely to be substantially mitigated through redeployment. I expect that additional new employment opportunities will be generated through what I hope will be a thriving UK-based service provider that will result from the joint venture we have created.
Does my right hon. Friend recognise that offices in rural locations, such as the Alnwick DEFRA office, can be excellent locations for shared back-office services because they have good staff and low staff turnover? Will he therefore do all he can to encourage the public-private partnership company to make sure that the Alnwick location is used, either for its existing work or for alternative work in the field?
I absolutely take the point that my right hon. Friend makes. It is very well made. I know that the new joint venture company will look very carefully at all the implications. It will want to be able to do the work effectively and to create a new provider in the marketplace that has the opportunity to create more jobs rather than lose jobs. I know that he will talk to the new company and that it will want to hear his views.