Should we move public sector jobs out of London?

This briefing looks at the impact of two notable cases of high-skilled publicly-funded jobs that have been moved out of London in recent years – the consolidation of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Newport and the move of part of the BBC’s national activities to Salford in Greater Manchester.

The relocation of public sector jobs is one of the most direct tools that policy makers can use to move jobs around the country. There is precedent for doing this already in the UK – for example through the opening of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Liverpool, Department for Work and Pensions in Newcastle and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea.

And political interest continues on this front. As part of its industrial strategy and rebalancing agenda, the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto pledged to move significant numbers of civil servants out of London and the South East to other cities in the UK

The briefing sets out three key findings which have important implications for these ambitions

  • The move of the BBC has clearly had an impact on MediaCityUK.
  • But much of the growth in media was down to displacement, particularly from elsewhere in Greater Manchester.
  •  Beyond the MediaCityUK, the impact was limited.
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