Business Minister Nick Hurd has corrected an answer he gave to my Parliamentary Question about locating department staff outside London, signalling a u-turn on its plans to locate all policy staff in the capital.
Last July I asked the Minister whether Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) staff working on industrial strategy would be based outside of London, following months of campaigning against the Department’s decision to centralise policy roles in the capital. In October, Mr Hurd answered by reiterating the Government’s commitment to locating policy roles, including those working on industrial strategy, in London.
However, last week Mr Hurd tabled a ‘Ministerial Correction’ to his previous answer, and said that, following the reorganisation of Government Departments under Theresa May, the new BEIS department would be considering the right structure for the department.
I’m disappointed it has taken the Business Department six months to give an accurate answer to my Parliamentary Question. But if the delay and the correction mean they are properly considering the value of having policy making in Sheffield and other regions outside London I welcome that. The Department now needs to provide clarity and seize the opportunity to benefit from the additional perspective and talent Sheffield can provide, not to mention the savings to the public purse.