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?