Minister '˜refuses' to meet Sheffield Council leader on BIS jobs move as staff plan strike action
A top government minister has '˜refused' to meet Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore on plans to move 250 civil service jobs to London.
Ahead of a visit by Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, has refused to meet with the council leader despite ‘repeated requests’ for a meeting.
There has been overwhelming opposition to the jobs move which including MPs from the government’s own bench.
The so-called snub comes as BIS workers plan to strike over the closure the Sheffield BIS office.
The one-day strike on Thursday May, 19 will involve policy staff who work in the closure-threatened building.
In a ballot, 96 per cent of the affected members voted for action on a 53 per cent turnout. The union is also considering a timetable for further walkouts.
Government plans include shutting the office in St Paul’s Place and moving 250 jobs to the capital by 2018.
Sheffield MPs have said the government has failed to provide a ‘clear rationale’ behind the proposal,
Research has indicated the move could cost in the region of £2.5 million a year due to additional expenditure of employing staff in London with higher wages and increased cost for office space.
Ms Dore first wrote to the Secretary of State immediately after the proposal was announced in January.
He has now refused a meeting when in Sheffield tomorrow according to the city’s Labour party group.
Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council said: “I have been trying to meet with the minister to put our case forward on this issue since January and have said I will meet him at any time in any place. But he is refusing point blank to even sit in a room and discuss this when he is in Sheffield.
“There has been mass opposition to this move, including from MPs across the political spectrum and across the country. The move will take jobs away from Sheffield and relocate them to London and he is now running scared from even explaining the reasons behind this decision. This is an insult to our city and to the people who are affected by this completely unnecessary and counterproductive move.
“As a region Sheffield has engaged with the Government’s agenda, being the second city to sign a devolution deal but when you want to speak about something of substance impacting on our city the door is slammed in your face. Their commitment to a Northern Powerhouse doesn’t look very credible when they are relocating the Northern Powerhouse department from Sheffield to London.”
“The research that has been carried out into this issue has proven what should be obvious to everyone, that moving jobs out of Sheffield and into London doesn’t save money it costs a lot more. This makes it hard to understand any credible reason for doing this. The fact that the minister won’t even meet with me to explain his case is just further proof that they don’t have one.”
The Star has contacted Mr Javid’s office for a comment.