I have demanded answers after the most senior civil servant in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills refused to provide costings for the planned Sheffield BIS office closure, despite calls from two Parliamentary Select Committees.
Both the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee have called on the BIS Permanent Secretary, Martin Donnelly, to release information on the Department’s estimate of the costs of closure of the Sheffield office and the transfer of posts to London. After Mr Donnelly failed to deliver the requested information, the Committees issued a joint letter stating the information provided had been “wholly unsatisfactory” with answers in oral evidence “obfuscatory, if not misleading”.
Mr Donnelly’s response to the Chairs of the Committees, dated 21 April, set out the annual costs of the Sheffield office, with no mention of costs that would be incurred from moving posts to London. So far we’ve discovered that, in rent, rates and maintenance alone, it’s going to be an extra £1.6m a year. After salary and other costs it could be around £2.5 million.
I want the whole truth so that I can make my case to keep the jobs in Sheffield.