Business Secretary Sajid Javid has outlined why he won’t be meeting Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore over plans to move 247 civil service jobs to London.
A spokesman for the Government minister said Mr Javid already has a ‘number of engagements’ while he’s visiting South Yorkshire today.
His visit comes as workers in his department have walked out in protest at the planned job cuts.
The Sheffield Council leader said the minister was ‘running scared’ after reportedly refusing numerous requests to discuss the proposals.
Government plans include shutting the office in St Paul’s Place in Sheffield city centre and moving 247 jobs to the capital by 2018.
Sheffield MPs have said the Government has failed to provide a ‘clear rationale’ behind the proposal.
The council leader has reacted angrily to Mr Javid’s snub and said he’s known about her request for five months.
The Arbourthorne councillor said she was ‘dismayed’ Mr Javid couldn’t include a short meeting with her during his visit to Sheffield.
Ms Dore said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that the Business Secretary can’t even spare me five minutes for a conversation on these job cuts.
“I’ve offered to meet him wherever and he’s point blank refused to see me.
“The message I get from him is the workers are not important, I’m not important and the city of Sheffield is not important.
“I’ll be writing to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor for the lack of cooperation on this issue which flies in the face of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.”
Marian Lloyd from the PCS union spoke to The Star on the picket line this morning.
She said: There has been no thought about the impact that it will have on people’s livelihoods, the community in Sheffield and wider economic situation.”
A BIS spokesperson said:“The Business Secretary has a number of engagements in South Yorkshire where he will be meeting businesses, apprentices and local people. He has a number of engagements in the area, including chairing an industry roundtable and visiting advanced manufacturing facilities that are benefiting the local economy.
“The proposal to close the BIS office in Sheffield has not been taken lightly and ensuring staff are fully briefed and consulted remains a huge priority for us. That’s why the Permanent Secretary, along with BIS officials and board members, have engaged with staff and unions closely as part of the formal consultation and ministers have discussed the proposals with both MPs and in Parliament. The board is now in the process of giving full consideration to responses received.”