One thousand UK civil service jobs are to be moved to Scotland from Whitehall as part of Boris Johnson’s counter to demands for independence.
The UK Cabinet Office, one of the most powerful departments in Westminster, is to set up 500 jobs in Glasgow city centre while the Foreign Office is to strengthen the International Development office in East Kilbride with another 500 civil servants.
The big push to move jobs out of London and to strengthen the Union will see Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office establish a flagship HQ with ministerial offices in Glasgow city centre.
Ministers, as well as senior civil servants, are expected to be spend “a significant amount of time” working out of the city as the job count reaches 500 over the next four years.
Gove, the Scot at the forefront of Johnson’s pushback against the SNP, said the move would “bring the heart of the UK government closer to the communities it serves”.
Ahead of a visit to Scotland, Gove said: “This will co-locate the engine room of the UK Government in Scotland ensuring closer collaboration between Scotland’s two governments as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic together and work to build a sustainable recovery.”
“Not only will this bring new jobs and investment to Scotland, it will strengthen the diversity of the UK Civil Service, ending the Westminster knows best approach to policymaking and ensuring Scottish voices shape everything we do.”
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In addition to the Glasgow jobs the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is strengthen the joint-headquarters in East Kilbride with 500 extra staff being recruited to take the total number of jobs at the Scottish base to more than 1,500 by 2025.
The plan is part of the UK Government’s “levelling up” agenda for every part of the United Kingdom to build back from the pandemic but the timing, ahead of the Scottish parliament election campaign, is crucial.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “There can be no clearer demonstration of commitment to our joint HQ in East Kilbride than that an extra 500 jobs are coming to Scotland.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is great news that hundreds more UK Government civil service jobs will be moving to Scotland, along with the creation of a second UK Government base. It will join the flagship Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh as a demonstration of our unwavering commitment to strengthening the United Kingdom.”