Image Credit: Luke Snell
Yesterday, The Times revealed that the Government is looking to make York the ‘second city’ of the country by making it a new political centre in the north.
York was already being considered as a new location for the House of Lords and on the 21st January, Nouse reported that Boris Johnson hoped to move the House during a £3.5 billion Westminster restoration and that the move, possibly to York, would hopefully become permanent. It was believed that this was an attempt by the Government to appear more relatable by moving out of London into the rest of the country.
Now the government means to increase their plans and move senior civil servants up north with a potential relocation of the Home Office. The Times was told by a Government official that “the PM is genuinely really keen on this,” also stating that “it's not just York” which is being considered for Governmental movement to the North, as the Treasury is being considered for a move to Teeside. Several other cities in the north and Midlands have been looked at for the potential move but York is the front runner.
In January, Boris Johnson sent scouts to York to search out locations to house the new House of Lords with York Central being considered. The development could see the city’s economic output increase by 20% per cent.
Furthermore, York is currently attractive due to its railway connections. The city is currently just over 3 hours away from London by train and approximately 2 and a half hours from Edinburgh.
York becomes more appealing when considering the HS2 railway scheme which will roughly half the travel time between York and London by train. However, if York’s appeal is due to HS2 then there will be a considerable wait as the London to Manchester and Leeds route is behind schedule and may not be operational until 2035-2040.
This plan to move the House of Lords has also faced criticism from the peers with The Times reporting that the plan to relocate up north was originally “met with bemusement” and the Yorkshire Post reporting in January that peers claimed Boris Johnson “was living in cloud cuckoo land.”