The latest government hub office has been completed in Edinburgh and is ready to be occupied by 3,000 officials once the conronavirus restirctions are lifted.
The government yesterday announced that Queen Elizabeth House, a seven-storey, 190,000 square foot, ultra-modern office space, located near Waverley Station in the heart of city, was ready for occupation after the completion of the building fit out.
This follows on from the official key handover ceremony on 14 June 2019 when the building contractor, Artisan, completed the physical building works.
The hub will house nearly 3,000 civil servants from 11 departments, to deliver a bigger, better and more coordinated service to people and businesses across Scotland. These will be from departments including HM Revenue and Customs, the Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Information Commissioner’s Office, and the Government Actuary’s Department and the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland (OSSS) and the Office of the Advocate General. The building also includes Scotland’s first dedicated UK Government Cabinet meeting room.
Additional UK government departments are expected to confirm occupancy in the coming months, with the OSSS working with departments to ensure the building is fully occupied “as quickly as possible once Covid-19 conditions allow”.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “As we look forward to ensuring our economy can bounce back after coronavirus, and making the most of new global opportunities outside the EU, the case for the Union has never been stronger.
“It was exciting to tour the completed building and I very much look forward to seeing the UK government’s expanded and more co-ordinated presence in Scotland deliver even better services for people and businesses.”
Work is also underway on a Glasgow hub, which, like the Edinburgh building, forms part of HMRC’s hubs programme which has seen the tax and benefits agency reduce its office footprint from 170 to 13. The scheme is now overseen by the Government Property Agency.
A second round of hub offices has also been announced, with property deals agreed for second bases in both Croydon and Birmingham, and one in Peterborough. The hubs are set to form a key part of renewed government efforts to move more civil servants out of London.