Ahead of a visit by Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, to Sheffield tomorrow it has been revealed that he has refused to meet the Leader of Sheffield City Council to discuss his plans to relocate 247 BIS jobs from Sheffield to London. Councillor Julie Dore has made several requests dating back to the original announcement in January.
There has been overwhelming opposition in the city and beyond to the move the jobs and to date the department have failed to provide a clear rationale behind their proposal, research has indicated that the move will not save money but cost in the region of £2.5 million a year due to additional costs of employing staff in London such as higher wages and increased cost of office space.
Councillor Dore first wrote to the Secretary of State immediately after the proposal was announced in January, however, he has not agreed after nearly four months of continued requests. He has now refused the meeting when in Sheffield tomorrow.
Councillor Dore has also written to the Chancellor George Osborne and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O’Neill on the issue.
Councillor 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.”