The Government are committed to looking beyond London to all corners of the UK in the relocation of civil service and public sector roles. Through our Places for Growth programme, circa 6,000 roles have so far been relocated to our locations for growth. This includes more than 100 roles in the east midlands. As of December 2021, there were 980 roles in Derby from Departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice.
The Minister will be aware that the east midlands has the lowest concentration of civil servants of any UK region, and Derby is right at the bottom. I have been campaigning to bring the headquarters of Great British Railways to Derby, which would help to solve this problem and would connect this country’s private and public sector rail industries. Does she agree that having the headquarters of Great British Railways in Derby would support the Government’s ambition to level up the country?
I thank my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour. As a Derbyshire MP, it is serendipitous that I have the joy of answering this question.
The national headquarters of Great British Railways will be outside London, demonstrating our commitment to levelling up. A shortlist of six exceptional applications, including the exceptional Derby, will now compete to be chosen. A six-week consultation and public vote— I urge everybody in Derbyshire to vote—will run until 15 August, allowing people across Great Britain to make their voice heard. I declare my interest as a Derbyshire MP, as I think I said at the beginning. During the public vote, the rail Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Wendy Morton), will visit each of the six shortlisted locations to hear and learn directly from representatives.