Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby has launched a major campaign to attract civil servant jobs to Birmingham, after the Chancellor announced plans to move 15,000 people out of Whitehall.
The Chancellor said he would order Government departments to move 15,000 officials out of expensive London offices in order to save money.
Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill), the Birmingham MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is overseeing the scheme.
Birmingham City Council immediately announced the launch of a major publicity campaign to convince Whitehall mandarins to move departments to Birmingham.
An earlier attempt to get civil servants out of London led to 2,360 jobs being relocated to the West Midlands, and Birmingham is already home to the Gambling Commission, the Big Lottery Fund, the Highways Agency and the Legal Ombudsman.
But a new study showed that there are 34,130 civil servant jobs in the region - compared with 84,390 in London.
Mr Darling promised to go further, as part of the Government’s efforts to cut the deficit by saving money.
He told MPs: “We will also find savings by relocating civil servants from expensive London offices to elsewhere in the country.
“In the long term, I am announcing that the number of civil servants in London will be reduced by a third.
“As a first step, 15,000 posts will be relocated within the next five years.”
The Treasury study concluded that shifting jobs would “stimulate economic vibrancy in the regions of the UK and through linkages with the private sector, encourage the creation of centres of excellence that help build clusters of international competitiveness and contribute to growth and jobs”.
But it warned that jobs were still being pulled into what it called the “London magnet”, as decision-makers assumed they needed to deploy staff in expensive offices in Whitehall.
Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This report outlines how important it is that the Government takes seriously large scale public sector relocations to regional cities.
“Of course for the city and wider region, being the recipient of a large scale relocation would have a significant economic impact. Our research suggests that on a head count of 3,500 relocated personnel, the total volume of economic activity will be boosted by £226 million annually.
“We wouldn’t simply be looking at jobs relocating in to the city, but also a large number of jobs being created within the city to support that move, not to mention the boost to the local housing market.”
And Stephen Hughes, the council’s chief executive, said: “There are challenges including the reluctance of some Whitehall mandarins to consider moving, but we are convinced that the vast majority will be impressed by the high quality of life Birmingham can offer and by the benefits it can provide their organisations.”
The council and Marketing Birmingham, the body responsible for promoting the city, have already prepared a glossy booklet in anticipation of the Budget announcement, setting out the benefits of life in Birmingham.
They include a diverse regional economy, good transport links and world-class universities.