Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Louise Haigh MP: Sheffield jobs 'contempt' for north

An MP said a government decision to close a Sheffield office with the loss of almost 250 jobs shows "contempt for the north of England".

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced it is to close its office in the city by January 2018.

Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, told Parliament it showed a "London-centric focus".

Business minister Anna Soubry said the government was "committed" to "efficiency savings".

Image caption Ms Haigh said it was "economically irresponsible" to create more jobs in London

Ms Haigh, said it was "economically irresponsible" to create even more jobs in central London and asked the minister to publish the business case on which the decision was based.

'Spend money wisely'

She also listed job losses in the city at HRMC and Sheffield Forgemasters, and the possible loss of 400 posts at Sheffield City Council.

Ms Soubry, Minister of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said the government must "spend taxpayers money wisely".

A streamlined department would see 80 current locations reduced to approximately seven as part of a strategic plan, she added.

The minister said the department would continue to have "many more people" based outside London than inside.

Jillian Thomas, the president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said she was "dumfounded" by the decision that gave "totally the wrong message".

"It flies in the face of all the suggestions we're going to have a northern powerhouse", she added.

The news has also been criticised by other MPs, council and union leaders.

The closure decision, announced on Thursday, is subject to a 90-day consultation period.

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