Send us news by text, start your message World News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Plans to shut Runcorn Government building descend into farce, says union
PLANS to close a Government building in Runcorn with the loss of 450 jobs has descended into farce, claim union leaders.
The Department of Education proposes moving 220 civil servants from Castle View House, a freehold building which costs £1 million to run, to a rental site at Manchester Piccadilly Gate, costing double at £2m.
Arriva has announced that trains to take staff from Runcorn are now being diverted to Manchester Victoria.
The HS2 rail project now means that the building earmarked to accommodate staff is to be demolished to make way for the new high speed trains.
A spokesman for the Public Services Union said: “This has thrown the DfE plans into total disarray as they had told staff that the Piccadilly Gate site was the best choice, given its location next to Piccadilly station.
“Despite all of this, the DfE is pressing ahead with their consultation, with Manchester Piccadilly Gate as the preferred option.
“In a script that could have featured in a ‘Yes Minister’ sketch, the minister seems oblivious of the farce and waste of public money that would result in closing a perfectly good work place and moving staff to a building due to be flattened within a few years.”
Halton MP Derek Twigg, Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans, and Halton Council chief executive David Parr lobbied Permanent Secretary Chris Wormald to try and save the jobs.
Their intervention led Education Secretary Michael Gove to admit the decision would have a much more detrimental effect on the Runcorn economy than Manchester, and that the Runcorn site offered better value for money to the taxpayer.
Mr Twigg said: “There is clear evidence that this decision is ill-conceived and wrong.
“It does not make economic sense.”