The Department of Transport are to create a second HQ in Birmingham in addition to a northern hub in Leeds, as part of the governments strategy to create a more level playing field across the UK.
As a consequence, it is estimated that there will be 650 jobs created by 2025. The decision looks to support local economies in the Midlands and North and rebuild from the pandemic, as government proceeds with its roadmap out of lockdown.
Leaders across the department and both cities voiced their support of the forthcoming changes.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “The DfT will be right at home here, and I look forward to welcoming the team to the best-connected region in the UK”
The region has already seen and has been earmarked for a major transport “revolution” with the reopening of old railway lines, expanded tram routes, and an upgraded green bus fleet, along with the rollout of e-scooters and a cycle hire scheme.
£65m has been allocated for the overall government hubs programme in 2021 to 2022 for office works and improvements.
Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, added: “This shows once more the importance of Leeds, not just to our region but to the North of England and the UK. Investment in transport is central to our plans for the future and I hope the presence of more decision-makers in our city helps ensure the case for further investment in Leeds is heard”
The investment follows the announcement of the Chancellor, when he confirmed during his annual budget presentation that the city will also be home to the UK’s first infrastructure Bank.
From a political stand-point, the Conservatives are investing in many former Labour ‘safe seats’ which helped them win a landslide election back in December 2019. Additionally, the investment will fill the inevitable vacuums that will be left in the coming years as EU support and investment will start to dry up as a consequence of Brexit.
Overall, it is the latest step in the Government’s drive to move 22,000 civil service roles from London to communities across the UK by 2030.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “This is a historic move for the Department and part of a significant wider culture change across Whitehall. Transport is absolutely vital to the local communities we serve and having hubs in major cities like Birmingham and Leeds will offer a fresh perspective on how we can better serve these areas.”
Chris Heaton-Harris, Transport Minister, added: “Our department has a key role to play in this Government’s drive to level up across the country and having hundreds more roles based outside of London will not only bring an economic boost for Birmingham and Leeds but also ensure we are delivering the changes people around the country want.”
The Department for Transport has already started its recruitment process in Birmingham and Leeds, with 100 roles relocated so far. This includes Senior Civil Servant positions, which otherwise would have been based in London.