It is welcome news that some of the Sheffield-based BIS roles have moved to the Department for Education and so will remain in Sheffield. I called on the new Education Secretary to guarantee this after the Government reshuffle.
But it’s not enough. The new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy seems intent on pressing ahead with moving other staff to its London policy headquarters, which is ludicrous. I’ve written to the new Business Secretary, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP urging him to think again and to use the opportunity to increase the new Department’s presence in Sheffield.
If the new Prime Minister Theresa May meant it when she said she wants a country that works for everyone, she can start by ending the madness of requiring policy-makers in the Business Department to live and work in London.
The reality is that many of the talented BIS staff based in Sheffield have already moved on, which is a huge loss to policy-making. But I will keep pressing the Government to recognise the value of involving those who live and work outside the capital in the policy-making process. It’s right for our city, for the quality of decision-making and for the country’s public finances.