The Department for Transport (DfT) will create a second HQ in Birmingham and a northern hub in Leeds as part of its overall “levelling up” agenda across the UK.
The move is part of the government’s commitment to diversifying the civil service, ensuring decisions are rooted in the communities it serves rather than just from London, and is part of a drive to deliver 22,000 civil service roles into localities by 2030. It is particularly useful for the DfT to create local jobs due to the regionality of the department and its expenditure, including transport infrastructure and services, the government said.
The Birmingham headquarters will include new ministerial offices, with the government stating that “ministers expected to spend a significant amount of time there” as the government works to rebuild the UK post-pandemic. The news of the DfT creating a northern hub in Leeds comes on the back of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this month, confirmed the UK’s first-ever infrastructure bank will also be based in the city.
DfT has already begun recruiting in Birmingham and Leeds, with 100 roles created so far. This includes senior civil servant positions, which otherwise would have been based in London, with attracting senior figures to these locations key to the success of the initiative.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “This is a historic move for the department and part of a significant wider culture change across Whitehall.
“Transport is absolutely vital to the local communities we serve and having hubs in major cities like Birmingham and Leeds will offer a fresh perspective on how we can better serve these areas.”
Chris Heaton-Harris, Transport Minister, said: “Our department has a key role to play in this government’s drive to level up across the country. Having hundreds more roles based outside of London will not only bring an economic boost for Birmingham and Leeds, but also ensure we are delivering the changes people around the country want.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The West Midlands has undergone a transport revolution in recent years, with the reopening of old railway lines, expanded tram routes, and an upgraded green bus fleet, along with the rollout of e-scooters and a cycle hire scheme. The DfT will be right at home here, and I look forward to welcoming the team to the best connected region in the UK.
“Along with the relocation of MHCLG to Wolverhampton, this is a major vote of confidence in the West Midlands and a huge jobs boost at what is an incredibly difficult economic time. I’m delighted that after months of making the case we’ve won through, and a second major government department will be calling the West Midlands home.”