Friday, 6 November 2009

Move the civil servants out and move the MPs in

Whitehall is chock-a-block with government departments full of civil servants all hugger mugger in their many offices. There are, for example, almost 80,000 people working for the Ministry of Defence,most of them In London. You and I know them by their deeds: they are the desk-bound brigadiers and colonels who order the wrong rifles and boots and the air commodores whose task it is to make sure helicopters never fly. 
The point about them is that they can be just as inefficient out of London as in it. So why don't we move them and other civil servants out of the Capital? The MoD, for example, could relocate to Devon and Cornwall, England's two most impoverished counties, the Department of Health could relocate to the West Midlands and so on. Moving them out would boost local economies and provide job opportunities for young people in the regions in the future.
Only the senior advisers, bag carriers and spin doctors need stay in London (and we could cut their numbers while we are about it).
Moving the civil servants out would leave a lot of empty offices in central London, which could be converted into flats for homeless people and key workers and create jobs in the building industry. Flats could also be rented to MPs, thus ending their housing problems in London. A similar system operates in Washington where rented flats are provided for politicians. Why not do it here?

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