Blow to government ‘levelling’ scheme as Bank of England shelves plan to open northern hub
The Bank of England has dealt a blow to the government’s ‘levelling’ program by shelving plans to open a hub in the North.
Threadneedle Street planned to move hundreds of staff to an office in Leeds in a bid to make Britain’s financial industry less London-centric.
But a recruitment drive has been frozen and attempts to acquire up to 100,000 square feet of office space are on hold as the Bank grapples with “post-pandemic ways of working”.
Leveling down: The Bank of England has put plans to open a new northern hub on ice as it grapples with ‘post-pandemic ways of working’
A Bank spokesperson said: “We are fully committed to expanding our staff presence outside of London and the South East, to better serve and attract people across the UK.”
“It is important that we take the time to get it right, especially as post-pandemic ways of working are still being established.
“We are reviewing our plan and timing, but our presence in Leeds will continue to expand and our intention to create a northern hub there remains.”
The Bank already has a small office in Leeds, used by four staff who run the Yorkshire and Humber branch.
Bank branches are spread across the country and their employees are tasked with being the “eyes and ears” of London’s policy makers, keeping in touch with businesses and local communities to sound out the financial situation of different regions.
The Leeds office was expanded in the spring and now serves as a base for around thirty Bank employees.
It is understood that further recruitments are planned, but not on the scale that some in the region might have hoped.
The Bank’s decision to open a hub in the north was announced last year, weeks after the Treasury revealed plans to open a campus in Darlington.
At the time, Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said having “a greater proportion of our workforce located outside of London and the South East will allow us to better support our mission” of to ensure monetary and financial stability for the whole country.