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Thursday 7th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

THE closure of the government’s Business Department (BIS) office in Sheffield makes “a mockery” of Chancellor George Osborne’s so-called northern powerhouse, the leader of Britain’s Civil Service union said yesterday.

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell will march together on Saturday in Yorkshire’s former “steel city” in protest against the proposed closure with the loss of 250 jobs.

He said the closure would undermine efforts to save the steel industry.

He said the BIS closure threat comes at a time when the future of Tata Steel’s South Yorkshire plants hang in the balance and highlights the chaos at Business Secretary Sajid Javid’s department.

Mr Serwotka said: “The Business Department’s retreat from Sheffield not only puts 250 skilled jobs at risk, but threatens the economic revival of areas that have relied on the steel industry for generations.

“This is the exact opposite of what the government claims to want for the regions and the Civil Service, and makes a mockery of its northern powerhouse rhetoric.”

Steel workers from unions Community, Unite and GMB this week drew up a three-point plan to save the industry following the announcement by India-based Tata Steel that it is to sell its British operations, putting at total of 40,000 jobs at risk.

Demonstrators meet at 12pm on Saturday in Devonshire Street, Sheffield, for a march to City Hall for a 1pm rally.