Thousands of civil servants will be relocated to a new building in Manchester, with some moving from an office headed for demolition under HS2 plans, the Government has said.
The 2,500 workers are set to be transferred from London to Manchester by 2025, according to the Cabinet office, with some destined for a newly acquired site in the city centre.
Other staff are also to be moved to the office from another building in Manchester – Piccadilly Gate – that is set to be razed to make way for a new HS2 station.
The Government Property Agency (GPA) signed a lease agreement on Tuesday with developer Ask Real Estate and its partner, the Richardson Family, for a 12,000 square metre site on First Street.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said the building would host some 2,500 civil servants, including more than 700 roles that will be relocated from the capital to the northwest.
The Cabinet Office said the move would support the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and help boost regional growth, estimating up to £31 billion would be generated in economic benefits.
Under the Places for Growth programme, aimed at building civil service career pathways outside of the capital, the Government has pledged to move 22,000 roles out of London by 2030.
Departments moving roles include the Cabinet Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Department for Education and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The First Street development reaffirms Her Majesty’s Government’s long-term commitment to Manchester. The Places for Growth programme is delivering high quality government jobs across the whole country, and ensuring that Whitehall can take advantage of the wisdom and experience from people all over the United Kingdom.”
He added: “By the time this site opens in 2025, 2,500 civil servants will have been relocated from Greater London to Manchester.”
Clive Anderson, GPA’s Director of Capital Projects said: “The hubs create modern, inclusive environments where departments can be collocated in shared buildings across the UK. This supports the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and Places for Growth initiative, encouraging the movement and creation of jobs outside London.”
It comes after Boris Johnson faced calls from a former cabinet minister to scrap the new high speed rail line, which he defended as a catalyst for “prosperity” across “the whole of the country”.
Esther McVey, a vocal critic of HS2, said ditching the project would save “tens of billions of pounds” from a budget that is “spiralling out of control”.
She asked the Prime Minister to scrap the “inflated white elephant” during PMQs last week.
However, Mr Johnson argued it will deliver long-term growth and even help the Government cut taxes in the future.
Ministers had earlier decided to scrap a planned £3 billion connection between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said the Government will explore alternatives for how HS2 trains will reach Scotland.