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Birmingham could be first public sector hub outside London

City set to be centre of government outside of the capital as it pushes for major relocations away from South East

Sir Albert Bore

Birmingham is set to be the centre of government outside London under plans to capitalise on the largest relocation out of Whitehall on record.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore told the Post a public sector hub could be set up in the city as part of a drive to bring thousands more jobs in from the capital and beyond.

The central location and transport links, including West Coast Mainline, HS2 and expanding Birmingham Airport, are key reasons for the move which will create a rival to Whitehall.

The city already has a strong track record of bringing in operations in the regulation sector, with the likes of the Legal Ombudsman, Ministry of Justice and Gambling Commission among those to move here in recent years.

However, Sir Albert said the HS2 move was a strong statement in the push to attract powers and jobs out of Whitehall.

He said: "I think Birmingham is out there in the vanguard in trying to push for relocations out of London.

"I should think the property market here in Birmingham is beginning to lick its lips a little with anticipation of what is to come because I think there is going to be some demand for office location in the city centre."

He added: "There is something called a public sector hub, where you bring public sector organisations all together so that the back office services can be shared. Those discussions have already started.

"We are looking at that and it might be a distinct possibility some time in the future."

Attracting jobs out of London - offering cheaper rents and a more stable employment market - is a key strategy for inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham.

The strongest example of this is Deutsche Bank , which has transferred thousands of jobs out of the capital to Brindleyplace, but there is also the likes of Asos.

Marketing Birmingham chief executive Neil Rami said the city already had a strong record in the regulation sector, with the Solicitors Regulation Authority another to be attracted here.

He added: "I think certainly on the back of what has been happening on our out-of-London strategy in the commercial sector, like Deutsche Bank, people are saying we are a region that it doesn't seem to be that difficult to get the right kind of talent.

"In something like regulation, the supply chain is quite important so they are able to utilise the massive legal sector here.

"I think that will be exactly the same but in the engineering and construction sector on the back of the HS2 announcement."

The city council's director of planning and regeneration Waheed Nazir added: "This will set the precedent for public sector relocation outside of London.

"There has always been resistance in Whitehall to this and what we have always struggled with is you can never present a case study showing that it works.

"We will actually be the first city to have a significant public sector relocation - remember it is the Government taking the lease - then we will set the precedent to show the economic benefits to the city and for HS2. This is going to be a turning point for Birmingham's perception."

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said he hoped the HS2 move provided a platform for the city to grow from.

He said: "I very much hope so. I grew up not far from Birmingham and I regard it as an area that I have a great love for.

"I want to see Birmingham attract the way London attracts and I think HS2 gives Birmingham the key tools with which to do that.

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