Bootle – back to those huge Civil Service job losses in the Borough of Sefton

I posted some time ago about what I dubbed ‘Exit Bootle’ as HMRC announced that a huge number of Civil Service jobs were to be taken out of Bootle/Netheron and for some of them then to be relocated within Liverpool. My original posting is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/11/25/hmrcs-exit-bootle/

The devastating effect of these job losses on the fragile Bootle economy has indeed been completely ignored and therefore not taken into account by the those planning the move, this has been admitted to. Government seems to have adopted the stance of ‘this has nothing to do with us, it’s a matter for HMRC to decide upon’ or words to that effect!

But it’s not just Bootle where HMRC is going to effect huge job losses on a local economy, it is happening across the UK and MP’s representing those communities, many of them deprived by many social and economic indicators, are naturally up in arms. So much so that a debate on the floor of the House of Commons was held on 28th April and Peter Dowd the MP for Bootle contributed to it. Here’s a link to the Hansard report on the debate:-

hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-04-28/debates/16042848000002/HMRCBuildingOurFuturePlan

My thanks to Peter for his contribution in my capacity as a serving Civil Servant, a trade unionist and as a former Leader of Sefton Council. Taking jobs out of Bootle in their thousands will harm the economy and, as I have said before, it reverses a well trodden path that has been successful in providing jobs in Sefton. Let’s not forget that HMRC also took jobs away from Southport when they closed Southport Tax Office a few years ago.

Even at this late stage Government needs to stop washing its hands of the matter. Of course Government is responsible for a Civil Service Department reorganising itself in a way that will be economically destructive to many deprived communities across the UK. There’s no one else to blame.

Bootle – What sense does it make to take 2,500 Civil Service jobs out of it?

Firstly, yes I have an interest in this matter as I am a civil servant working in Bootle.

A bit of history to start things off – Civil Service jobs were brought to what became known as Bootle’s ‘Mini-Whitehall’ for two reasons in the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s i.e. the area needed investment and jobs and government found it too expensive to keep such jobs in the south east of England. I think the moves were entitled ‘Exit London’.

The last big move to Bootle was by the Health and Safety Executive if I recall correctly.

But now the process has seemingly been slammed into reverse as plans have recently been announced to remove around 2,500 HMRC civil service employees out of Bootle (and Netherton) and into a central Liverpool location in around 4 years time.

The obvious questions people in Bootle are asking are? Aren’t building costs much, much higher in central Liverpool? Won’t car parking be far more difficult and expensive in Liverpool for the hardly well paid staff and most importantly of all what will be the extent of the negative impact on the Bootle (Sefton Borough) economy? How would any town cope with 2,500 jobs being taken away from it never mind one like Bootle that always falls within the poorest ranked communities in England?

I suspect this will be a long-running issue but opposition Lib Dem members on Labour-run Sefton Council have already raised concerns by asking a question about the matter at the Full Sefton Council meeting held last night. The answer was that Sefton’s Chief Exec’ (Margaret Carney) has written to Lin Homer Chief Exec’ of HMRC and that this Department of Government is willing to meet the Council.

Yes indeed what is Sefton Council going to do to try to retain 2,500 jobs in the Borough? And I do hope they make a serious attempt to address this situation. I say this despite power and influence on Merseyside continually moving in Liverpool’s direction which is more and more of a concern in Sefton and indeed in the other Borough’s that surround the city.

It is no use Liverpool prospering by sucking jobs out of Sefton, Knowsley, St. Helens (this Borough is also down to lose civil service jobs as well), Halton and Wirral.

Will Sefton make all the right noises though about job losses in the Borough whilst at the same time also having to toe Liverpool’s line as it seemingly rebuilds its prosperity at the expense of the other Merseyside Boroughs?