'˜Damaging our national interest' - MP urges U-turn on Sheffield BIS cuts after Brexit vote

Sheffield MP Louise Haigh has said plans to cut 247 civil service jobs in Sheffield now needs to be scrapped after the UK voted to leave the EU.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 11:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 12:47 pm

Current plans would see the city centre based Business, Innovation and Skills office in St Paul’s Place, close with the loss of jobs.

But Ms Haigh, the shadow civil service minister, said Sheffield based civil servants, many experts in higher education and funding for universities, will play a vital role in negotiating Britain’s new relationship with the EU.

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The 2015 Spending Review outlined further cuts to Whitehall budgets including a drastic £350m cut to the Business, Innovation and Skills department which has put at risk 4,000 jobs and dozens of offices across the country.

Ms Haigh said: “The budget cuts, reorganisations and closures pencilled in will mean the civil service will face up to massed ranks of the Brussels bureaucracy in prolonged negotiations with one hand tied behind their backs and while colleagues around them are being made redundant.

“The cuts at BIS which have led to the Sheffield office closure are damaging our national interest.

“We want these dedicated civil servants – expert in higher education - out there batting for Britain and for our universities which receive 16 per cent of their income from the EU, in the negotiations to come.

A rally protesting the closure of the BIS department in Sheffield passes the building.

“Instead the government want to lay them off and force others to spend their time reorganising the department.”

“It would be an abdication of responsibility if the incoming Prime Minister did not immediately halt the reorganisation and job losses at BIS.

“They would do far better to turn their attention to the mammoth task ahead and let our excellent civil servants get the best deal for Britain.”

Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh
A rally protesting the closure of the BIS department in Sheffield passes the building.
Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh