In a major restructuring of its organization and operations the Cabinet Office is set to transfer at least 500 civil servant jobs to Glasgow by 2024.
The transferred personnel are expected to be housed in a new secondary headquarters of the Cabinet Office, which employs 8,500 staff altogether, almost all of which are currently based in London.
The Cabinet Office – headed by Tory ideologue Michael Gove – supports the Prime Minister and the cabinet to perform their day to day tasks.
Details of the major restructuring came in a letter to Cabinet Office staff from the department’s permanent secretary, Alex Chrisholm.
Furthermore, according to the BBC (March 13), an internal letter states the move would “strengthen its [the government’s] commitment to Scotland”.
This has fueled speculation that the transfer is less about restructuring the Cabinet Office with a view to making it more efficient than about sabotaging the Scottish independence movement.
The conjecture gains more traction in view of the fact the move would necessitate senior department officials – in addition to ministers – to spend “some time” in Scotland.
To that end, the Financial Times (March 13), quotes one senior Cabinet Office official as claiming the move would “bring the engine room of the UK government to Scotland”.
The Financial Times is also reporting that Michael Gove will visit Scotland next week to try to sell the idea to as broad a constituency as possible.
However, the government’s latest plan is likely to infuriate the Scottish National Party (SNP) which not only runs the Scottish government but also completely dominates the Scottish political landscape.
This major development comes ahead of the highly sensitive Scottish parliamentary election scheduled for May 06.
A decisive SNP victory will dramatically intensify calls for a new Scottish independence referendum, popularly referred to Indyref2.
While the government’s latest initiative to counter the Scottish independence movement will undoubtedly embolden the local Tories, it remains to be seen what impact it will have on broader Scottish politics.