DIT sets out plans for three new trade hubs across UK

Proposals will see bases created in Belfast, Cardiff and Darlington plus expansion of Edinburgh operation
International trade secretary Liz Truss

By Jim Dunton

23 Mar 2021

International trade secretary Liz Truss has announced the creation of three new trade and investment hubs in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Tees Valley – as well as the expansion of an Edinburgh location.

Truss said 550 staff were due to be based at the hubs by 2025, and that the Department for International Trade had “an ambition” to increase the figure to 750 by the end of the decade. 

The hubs – in Belfast, Cardiff, Darlington and Edinburgh – will be home to teams of export and investment specialists, tasked with providing businesses with expert support and advice to help them maximise their export potential and influence DIT’s free-trade agreements programme.

Darlington was confirmed as the location for HM Treasury's new northern base in the Budget earlier this month.

DIT said that the launch of the hubs marked the start of a major export drive focused on all parts of the UK and that they would also support the launch of high-profile export campaigns later this year.

Truss said she was “determined” to use UK trade policy to benefit every part of the UK. 

“These Trade and Investment Hubs will help this country to an export and jobs-led recovery,” she said.

“They will mean we can channel investment into all corners of the country, and that exporters – whether they’re selling Scotch beef, Welsh lamb or cars made in the North of England – have access to the expertise they need to sell into the fastest growing markets.”

DIT did not give an indication of how many staff would be based at the individual hubs, but said the Darlington one would be a “second major DIT site”.

The department announced in September last year that it was opening an Edinburgh hub at Queen Elizabeth House, the UK government’s new office building in the Scottish capital.  

Today DIT said the Edinburgh hub’s “relaunch” would see a “significant increase in headcount”.

Cabinet Office ‘moving 200 jobs to York’

The Cabinet Office has also provided more information on the number of jobs that will based at the department's new York office.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove this month confirmed that the government’s plans to move 22,000 civil servants out of London by 2030 would see the creation of a second headquarters for the department in Glasgow, an announcement that also included a quote from Cabinet Office perm sec Alex Chisholm that referred to officials being based in York.

The Yorkshire Post has now reported that 200 Cabinet Office jobs were being created in York or relocated to the city over the next five years. 

“Decision makers should be close to the people they serve and we want to see opportunity, jobs and investment fairly distributed across the country,” a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

They added that the jobs were separate from the 400 Cabinet Office roles based at Imphal Barracks in York’s Fulford district.

City of York Council leader Keith Aspden said the Cabinet Office move had followed “months of lobbying” but added that the Cabinet Office had yet to confirm details of the roles.

“York has much to offer any relocated government function,” he said. “Whilst this is excellent news, job relocations alone don’t constitute a northern strategy that would bring together policy and meaningful investment for the region.”

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