The government is likely to create more than 20 new public bodies as a result of Brexit, Cabinet Office minister Chris Skidmore has said, and all are likely to be placed outside London.
Skidmore told CSW the government was working on plans to create a raft of new agencies, which would be placed outside the capital as part of the government’s drive to open up the civil service.
Speaking as the Government Communication Service published its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2017/18, he said that moving government organisations outside London would provide people “with something to aspire to”.
Ministers have previously indicated that a number of new public bodies would need to be created to carry out regulatory and other governmental functions that are currently carried out at the European level once Britain leaves the bloc, but this is one of the first public indications of how many will be required.
Skidmore said: “I cover public bodies, they come across my desk, I see organisations that are being created – there are several organisations that will be created through Brexit, you’re looking at 20-plus public bodies being created through Brexit – and the commitment there is getting those outside of London.”
He added that the government was also continuing with triennial reviews that would look at moving other organisations out of London. This comes after the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto pledged to relocate “significant numbers” of public sector workers to new administrative centres across the country.
Moving public sector organisations outside of the south east not only benefits social mobility but provides beacons to the work of the civil service, Skidmore said.
“Actually getting those public organisations, whether it is the UK Statistics Authority in Newport or whether it is the Local Government Ombudsman in Coventry, [outside London] is not just about saving money, it is about giving people something to aspire to and to know that the government is in their area.”
He said fellow Cabinet Office minister Caroline Nokes, who has responsibility for government property, would make formal announcements in due course.
“It is not just a monetary issue it is about ensuring that the footprint of the UK government is across the whole of the union, and that people can see that the UK government is working for them in their local area," he said.