Headlines: June 10th, 2004

Kent is a prime location for civil service jobs moved out of London. This is the claim of Locate in Kent, the inward investment and relocation agency given the task of delivering jobs and new business opportunities for the Deputy Prime Minister’s Sustainable Communities programme. Under proposals by Sir Michael Lyons, 20,000 civil service jobs will be moved out of London to different parts of the UK, but Kent was excluded.Locate in Kent’s Chief Executive Paul Wookey said: Our research has shown that relocating to Kent will achieve better cost savings than moving to major centres like Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool but with far less disruption. Kent and Medway is very diverse and not as tied to specific industries as some of these other locations meaning there will also be less competition for labour. Planned improvements to the transport infrastructure and the availability of good quality, affordable office space and housing also make Kent a good location for large-scale moves.”

The cost of office space in London is 53 pounds per sq ft, in Manchester 27 pounds per sq ft and in Kent and Medway between 10-21 pounds per sq ft. Overall, Kent office prices are 50% lower than the other regions being considered.

The Public and Commercial Services Union is also concerned about the effect of moving jobs away from the London area. General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The Lyons report raises grave concerns about job losses and the reduction of local provision of key public services in London. It is also of concern to minority ethnic groups, due to the cavalier attitude displayed towards the damaging and disproportionate impact relocation would have on members from ethnic groups – some of which are largely only present in the London area.”