Thousands of Government jobs set to come to Leeds as part of Levelling Up boost in the North

Further Government jobs are set to come to Leeds as part of the Government’s new Levelling Up white paper announced in Parliament yesterday.

By Richard Beecham
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:45 am

But the document, presented by Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove which is aimed at boosting local economies in the North of England, also included numerous policies that had already been announced by the Government.

According to the paper, more Whitehall jobs would be brought to Leeds, although no in-depth details on how many jobs from each department would come to the city.

The news was welcomed cautiously by the leader of Leeds City Council, who also complained that many of the announcements were not new.

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Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove (Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

The paper stated: “Government will also lead by example, relocating more senior civil service roles out of London.

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“More civil service roles will move to locations across the UK, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardif, Belfast, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds, as key decision-makers are re-deployed to be closer to those they serve.

"The White Paper reinforces our commitment to the Places for Growth programme and confirms departments’ detailed numbers and locations for relocation of roles to 2025 and 2030.”

According to the government’s Places for Growth plans, 701 full time roles from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will move to Leeds

According to the government’s Places for Growth plans, 701 full time roles from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will move to Leeds, along with 13 other towns and cities across the North by 2035.

A further 688 roles at the Department for Transport will be relocated across Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Also targeted at Leeds by 2,035 are jobs at the Department for Health and Social Care, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Levelling Up and The Home Office.

It follows the moves of parts of the Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Transport and the National Infrastructure Commission in recent years.

The paper added that the new UK Infrastructure Bank would be based in Leeds, and have a “mandate to catalyse investment to support regional and local economic growth”, by helping council’s invest in large works.

However, the National Infrastructure Bank was a policy announced last year, and opened its doors back in December 2021.

It also announced a new 16-19 mathematics school in Leeds – a plan originally announced back in 2020. The investment in bringing a new British Library facility to Leeds City Centre, originally announced in last year’s spending review, was also included.

One of the new policies included was that of education investment areas, which will see Leeds, along with some other Yorkshire council areas, included in plans the Government says “will drive further school improvement… through funding to intervene in under-performing schools.”

Leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis (Lab) said: “Finally the latest version of what the government thinks is levelling up has been released and I’ll make sure we’re working constructively to get the best for Leeds.

“Many of the ideas aren’t new and we’ve needed progress on issues like transport and investment for years. I still believe there’s no substitute for sustained and long term funding for local public services and after 12 years of sustained budget reductions caused by Conservative government grant cuts I remain to be convinced that any long term improvements will be made.”

Speaking ahead of his announcement, Mr Gove said: “The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story. We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies. Ours is the world’s most spoken language. We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.

“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.

“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.

“This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our 12 new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”

Following Mr Gove’s announcement in Parliament, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn (Lab) asked: “One of the great inequalities in my constituency is the gap between those who are able to feed their families and those who cannot. Since the government took office, in every year the use of food banks has increased.

“What is the government going to do to bring an end to this scandal?”

Mr Gove responded: “There are a series of steps we will take and have taken through the supporting families programme. We are also outlining some of the proposals we are taking as part of henry dimbleby’s national food strategty, which addresses some of the challenges in making sure people have the resources and capacity to put healthy food on the table for their children.

“I look forward, perhaps, to visiting Leeds with Henry Dimbleby to talk to [Mr Benn] about exactly how we achieve the change that we need.”

Mr Dimbleby’s review suggested a “National Food Strategy”, which would include piloting a “Community Eatwell and a school cooking revolution”.

The paper is set to go to a vote in the House of Commons before a committee stage and final approval from the Lords.

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