The Yorkshire Post understands 185 DWP jobs will move out of London by 2025, while ministers will begin to have a presence at the Leeds base from next month. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has also promised “a regular ministerial presence” in its offices already in the city.
It comes after the Department for Transport (DfT) announced this month that 650 jobs would be moved to Leeds and Birmingham, while the Chancellor revealed at the Budget that the city would be the base for the new National Infrastructure Bank.
And Michael Gove told the Commons yesterday that the number of jobs in his own Cabinet Office based in York would be increasing by 50 per cent in the coming months, from 400 to 600, after the city missed out on becoming the department’s second home to Glasgow.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey is set to announce today that the DWP’s existing Quarry House office will become a “second HQ” with a permanent ministerial office.
It could not be confirmed exactly how many of the 185 roles being moved would come to Leeds, but it is understood a significant proportion would be heading to the city.
Ms Coffey said: “Designating Quarry House in Leeds as our second HQ with ministerial offices builds on our presence in towns and cities across Britain.
“Leeds has a leading role in this country’s recovery as we build back better and deliver our Plan for Jobs. DWP ministers are excited about our second office, giving us direct entry into the Northern Powerhouse.”
The existing Quarry House office in the east of the city already houses core services such as digital, HR, finance, policy and operations.
While Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:“I am committed to levelling up and spreading opportunity across the country.
“I am delighted to build on our longstanding presence in the heart of Yorkshire, strengthening Leeds as the second home of the Department.
“This move isn’t just about national bodies but is one part in strengthening Leeds as a major national hub for healthtech, the NHS, and the wider ecosystem.”
The Government has said that as part of its levelling up agenda it will reduce regional imbalances in public sector roles by moving 22,000 civil service jobs currently based in London and the South East to other hubs around the UK by 2030.
The Conservative Party is also moving staff out of London to Leeds with a second headquarters, and it is understood party chiefs are close to unveiling its exact location.
Elsewhere in the North, Darlington has been named as the home of the Treasury North base.
But a Labour source said the moves were just “swapping desks” rather than making real change.
They said: “The Tories have no ambition for the North and no real plan for tackling the North/South divide. We need bold, meaningful investment that creates good jobs, long term. Swapping desks isn’t the answer.”