Department for Education staff in Darlington draw up plans to stay in town

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

STAFF at a government office threatened with plans to move their posts out of the town have drawn up a battle plan to fight the proposals.

About 400 civil servants at the Department for Education (DfE) offices in Mowden Hall, Darlington, were told on Tuesday their positions could be transferred to Newcastle.

The DfE is looking to axe 1,000 jobs as part of a national cost-cutting drive, and Darlington staff are being moved out of Mowden Hall due to its poor state of repair.

A final decision is expected in March, though moves to Lingfield Point and Northgate House, in Darlington, have not been ruled out.

Last night, about 500 people had backed The Northern Echo’s Save Darlington Jobs petition, which has also received strong backing from MP Jenny Chapman and borough councillors.

Staff at Mowden Hall today (November 16) met with union officials, and began drawing up detailed action plans to lobby the government and retain their posts in Darlington.

Robbie Faulds, from the Public and Commercial Services Union, said members were fully committed to staying in the town.

He said: “They are totally shell-shocked by everything that has gone on, but there is a real strength of feeling to fight and stay in Darlington.

“They feel galvanised and have responded in an excellent manner to what they’re facing.

“The case for moving out of Darlington has been made by the bean counters, but there is more to this than that.

“We made a conscious decision to set down all the issues raised and create detailed arguments about specific locations and extra travelling expenditure to give to the DfE.

“The wider Darlington economy is also a big factor too because there are examples of similar closures in other areas which have caused significant financial problems for businesses.

“We don’t want that to happen in Darlington.”

Bosses at Capita, who share Mowden Hall with the DfE, have denied they are looking to move from the premises.

A spokeswoman said: “We have no confirmed plans to move from the site but are reviewing all options available to us.

“Should we need to leave the premises, it will be to move to a building in the Darlington area.”

You can sign the Echo’s petition online at northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition

Comments (3)

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9:53pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Homshaw1 says...

These are just the sort of jobs Darlington can not afford to lose. They are stable, long term jobs that create stable long term demand for goods and services in the local economy.

The new cinema complex should create jobs but I suspect most will be part time at or just above the minimum wage.
These are just the sort of jobs Darlington can not afford to lose. They are stable, long term jobs that create stable long term demand for goods and services in the local economy. The new cinema complex should create jobs but I suspect most will be part time at or just above the minimum wage. Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

9:59pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Savant_NE says...

It's unbelievable that the Government is supposed to be trying to restore consumer confidence and it's own departments are creating an atmoshpere of uncertainty .The first thing people do when they think their income is under threat is to stop spending money.Cut ,cut ,cut thats all it seems to be about.The economy in this area will never recover if the Government departments don't play their part and protect jobs,and say NO MORE JOBS WILL GO .How can it be saving costs if the buildings in Newcastle area are far more expensive than in the South of this region and what about the redundancy cost that go with it.Doesn't make sense.Make public the true facts.How can this move possibly save money and help the recovery.
It's unbelievable that the Government is supposed to be trying to restore consumer confidence and it's own departments are creating an atmoshpere of uncertainty .The first thing people do when they think their income is under threat is to stop spending money.Cut ,cut ,cut thats all it seems to be about.The economy in this area will never recover if the Government departments don't play their part and protect jobs,and say NO MORE JOBS WILL GO .How can it be saving costs if the buildings in Newcastle area are far more expensive than in the South of this region and what about the redundancy cost that go with it.Doesn't make sense.Make public the true facts.How can this move possibly save money and help the recovery. Savant_NE
  • Score: 0

6:02am Sun 18 Nov 12

snudge says...

As and ex DfE employee I fully support all my ex colleagues. However with a labour MP and a Tory government and an exceptionally insensitive minister Gove
and hopeless top management at the department I fear that they are up against a stacked deck
As and ex DfE employee I fully support all my ex colleagues. However with a labour MP and a Tory government and an exceptionally insensitive minister Gove and hopeless top management at the department I fear that they are up against a stacked deck snudge
  • Score: 1

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