The Ministry of Justice is to relocate staff outside the capital as part of the government’s efforts to save on office costs.
George Osborne’s budget announced that by the middle of this parliament, the MoJ will establish a ‘major programme’ to create ‘substantial centres of expertise’ outside London.
The Treasury budget policy document states: ‘This will reduce costs, access highly skilled labour markets in the regions and contribute to the Northern powerhouse.’
But the document does not specify where the new centres will be located.
It said the MoJ relocation was in addition to plans to significantly reduce the numbers of civil servants working in central London.
The government has an ‘ambitious strategy’ to save money by moving civil servants out of expensive Whitehall accommodation into the suburbs of London. Earlier this year the MoJ said it was developing 24 commuter hubs - shared spaces in government property where staff can work from or attend meetings locally - in outer London and the south-east.
It estimated that the scheme will help the department save almost £7m a year in property costs.
The ministry is still forecast to cut its spending by 15% by 2020. According to the Treasury document, the department’s budget will fall from a baseline of £6.8bn in 2015/16 to £6.6bn next year. It will then fall to £6.3bn, £5.8bn and finally £5.7bn in 2019/20.