MPs bid to stop 250 Government jobs in Sheffield being axed

MPs will call today for a final decision on plans to axe 250 Government jobs in Sheffield to be put on hold.

Monday, 9th May 2016, 7:11 am
Updated Monday, 9th May 2016, 7:15 am
General election 2015 Sheffield count at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Paul Blomfield, Labour, holds onto his Sheffield Central seat.

A cross-party debate is to take place on Monday afternoon in Parliament over controversial proposals to shut the business department’s Sheffield office and move all of its work to London.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who has secured the debate, will call for the National Audit Office to conduct a financial analysis of the proposal before any final decision is made.

It is understood the decision was originally due to be made this week but has been pushed back until later this month following repeated criticism of the department’s financial reasoning for moving 247 posts to London.

Mr Blomfield said: “I’m pleased to have secured this debate in Parliament to get answers from Ministers. The proposal to move jobs from Sheffield to London makes no financial sense, nor is it the way to draw on talent from across the country.

“If the Business department doesn’t withdraw the proposal on Monday, we will call for it to be suspended pending a National Audit Office cost benefit analysis.

“Figures show it’ll cost £2.5m more a year to move these functions to London, not to mention the impression this gives of the Government’s so called Northern Powerhouse. I hope Ministers will respond positively to our calls to step back and look again.”

A leaked report seen by The Star last month shows that moving all the jobs from Sheffield to London would actually cost taxpayers an extra £100,000 instead of saving money.

The document revealed £1.5 million could be saved from buildings, rent and travel costs by closing the Sheffield office but it would cost an extra £1.6m in salary if all the jobs were moved to London.

It also showed 90 per cent of the potential savings from moving the public servants’ jobs out of Sheffield to London is based on reducing the number of employees.

The Sheffield office is set to be shut by 2018.

Business department permanent secretary Martin Donnelly said the final costs of closing the Sheffield office are still being worked out - but more than £14m could be saved if it shuts and none of its staff are replaced.