Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Austin: Parliament move missed opportunity to decentralise

Dudley MP Ian Austin has slammed plans to keep Parliament in London as a missed opportunity to decentralise government to the regions.

A report on urgent repair works needed at the Palace of Westminster has recommended that MPs move out of Parliament to an office block nearby while repairs costing £4 billion take place.

Responding to a report on the repairs last year, Austin called for House of Commons authorities to set an example by moving Parliament to the regions for the duration of the repair works.

The Dudley North MP says that the decision to stay put in London is a huge missed opportunity to bring Parliament closer to the people it serves and kick-start the devolution of government departments.

Austin has previously called for 100,000 civil services jobs to be moved from London to the regions, saving £10 billion from the sale of expensive London offices plus an extra £725 million annually from cheaper property and staffing costs.

Ian Austin said:

"This decision is a huge missed opportunity to kick-start devolution and bring Parliament closer to the people it serves by moving it out to the regions.

"Britain is unique in centralising so much of its business, finance, media industries and government all in one place – London.

"Why can’t Parliament move to the Midlands – preferably the Black Country? It would be much easier for most MPs to get to, and it would enable Ministers and the metropolitan elite running the civil service to find out what life is like for the rest of us.

"I can recommend the Edwardian masterpiece that is Dudley Town Hall – it’s at least twice the size of the Commons chamber with plenty of room for every MP."

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