Dear Editor, There have been regional offices for most of the major government departments within the West Midlands for nigh on 100 years.
Governments of all politics have decided that by having staff recruited locally, living locally and travelling locally would be a better way of ensuring that local concerns were addressed; the alternative being decisions being taken in Whitehall.
The incoming Government has, as the Centre for Social Justice Thinktank has stated, acted in a blunderbus way in producing its cuts programme – with no consideration of the social or economic impact.
Already, as the Birmingham Post has reported, Advantage West Midlands and the Government Office have been told to shut up shop. In addition the Education Secretary decided to close the General Teaching Council – all employing civil servants working and spending locally in our region.
In the case of AWM let’s be clear, the Local Enterprise Partnerships will not take over functions carried out by AWM.
There will be no transfer of funds. They will not ensure that people and business have the necessary skills. They will not take forward big regeneration or infrastructure projects. Ministers expect many to fold within a year or two of being set up which will only add to uncertainty.
Already Government Office staff have been told to scale back their activities. The closure of Government offices will see an end to the holy grail of joined-up Government.
These decisions aren’t about saving money but politics. The PCS union believes these decisions will end up costing us money, either through lost spending power in the region or by losing vital EU funds or creating inefficiencies as Government departments go back to competing with one another.
PCS Union Midlands Chair