A salary of £60,000 is not enough to attract good candidates for the Treasury outpost at Darlington, according to a former government adviser.
Ben Ramanauskas, a former adviser to the commerce secretary, said it was ‘not a lot of money’ for the ‘important’ role as head of labor market and unemployment policy, meaning the Treasury would have struggling to compete with banks and consultants.
The Treasury “is not going to attract these people, especially if they also have to live in Darlington”, he said, prompting a backlash from the local Tory MP.
The government will move more than 1,000 civil servants to Darlington in northeast England after fending off competition from rivals Leeds and Newcastle for the new campus.
However, some have expressed concerns about the available talent pool and whether Whitehall officials will leave the capital.
In a series of tweets citing the vacancy, Mr Ramanauskas said the government ‘could easily attract top quality candidates’ if the job was in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle or Edinburgh but not Darlington.
He warned: “We are in danger of another lost decade. The Treasury should do everything it can to foster economic growth and we need the best minds working on this at all levels. To attract these people, we have to pay them more.
Peter Gibson, the Tory MP for Darlington, said Mr Ramanauskas’ view ‘demonstrates exactly why it is so important to move jobs from London to places like Darlington’.
The government is planning a big shake-up of Whitehall by moving thousands of civil servants out of London and reducing the overall size of the civil service after it was bloated by Covid and Brexit.
Ministers want to move 22,000 staff out of the capital by 2030 as part of a move to move decision makers to areas left behind.
Will Tanner, director of think tank Onward, said there were big savings to be made and a “really good” economic case in moving staff out of London.
“If you’re trying to create a government that listens to the wants and priorities of the people of Barnsley, Hull or Stoke, it’s harder to do that if your civil service is overwhelmingly concentrated in Whitehall.”
He added: “There is a raw efficiency argument. Buildings and people in London tend to cost significantly more than in other parts of the country and so there are potentially significant savings to be made. This has been proven by previous relocation exercises throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.”
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This notice was published: 2022-04-13 14:45:00