Home Office shuns Liverpool

The Home Office has denied it is moving its accounts branch from Liverpool to
London because there are not enough top quality accountants in the city.

The Public and Commercial Services Union, one of the UK’s largest trade
unions, is considering strike action over what it called the ‘ludicrous’
decision to shift the Whitehall department’s financial accounting function back
to the capital 14 years after it moved out.

Martin Kelsey, vice-chairman of the Liverpool branch of the PCS, said one of
the reasons given by the Home Office for the decision was that it could not find
suitable accountancy staff to fill the positions in Liverpool.

‘We think it is ludicrous that in a major city the Home Office can claim it
cannot find enough high-quality accountants,’ said Kelsey.

A spokesman for the Home Office denied this was the reason: ‘That’s not why
we are moving it. It’s not because there are no accountants in Liverpool, I’m
sure there are plenty.’

He added that the decision was made to ‘strengthen our central finance team
and facilitate recruitment’.

The move to bring accounting back to the capital contradicts the government’s
policy of shifting public sector jobs from London into the regions.

The PCS has written to the Home Office twice in recent weeks on the subject,
so far without a response. Kelsey said that if there was no reply soon the union
would begin moves to ballot its 325,000 members on strike action.

The shift of the finance function is scheduled for the end of the financial
year, with about 20 jobs affected. The Home Office has promised there will be no
compulsory redundancies.

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