No civil service jobs have been transferred from the central belt to the south of Scotland in the past five years, Colin Smyth can reveal.
The South Scotland MSP submitted a written question asking the Scottish Government how many civil service jobs have been redistributed to the South Scotland region over the past five years, broken down by area.
The response from Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson said during the last five years “no civil service jobs within the Scottish Government have been specifically relocated to South Scotland region”. After coming to power in 2007, the SNP abandoned the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat administration’s policy of moving jobs out with the central belt.
The Cabinet Secretary went on to state that the Scottish Government Main bargaining unit (SGM), which comprises Core SG Directorates and associated Agencies, there are approximately 560 jobs located within the South Scotland region. He said this represents 4.75% of staff in SGM.
However, South Scotland’s electoral region works out at 12.41% of Scotland’s population, so even the 4.75% falls significantly short.
Colin Smyth said: “The Scottish Government is a huge employer but the fact that no civil service jobs have been transferred from the central belt into the south Scotland region in the past five years is shocking.
“The SNP Government has claimed in the past that it was going to halt the centralisation of power and move more jobs and resources away from Edinburgh and Glasgow, but this blatantly hasn’t happened.
“Saying that 4.75 per cent of Scottish Government Main bargaining unit jobs are in the south doesn’t wash: by electoral region, our area comprises more than 12 per cent of Scotland’s population.
“Our region is desperately in need of jobs and especially high quality, well paid jobs which might help to keep some of our young people from relocating out of the area. It’s no wonder so many people leave when you consider that all the jobs are in the central belt.
“If anything can come out of the pandemic I would hope that the Scottish Government will consider more home working and thereby allowing more people to live and work in different parts of the country.”