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Darlington councillors back campaign to keep up to 400 Department for Education posts in town
COUNCILLORS in Darlington have rallied behind a Northern Echo campaign to keep up to 400 civil servants jobs in the town.
Worried workers at the Department of Education (DfE) offices in Mowden Hall face an anxious wait after chiefs revealed the site would close.
Darlington staff could be moved to Newcastle as the DfE looks to axe 1,000 posts in national cost-cutting measures.
Union bosses are due to meet workers at Mowden Hall today (November 16)
A decision is expected by March, and moves to other locations in Darlington, including Lingfield Point and Northgate House, have not yet been ruled out.
Last night more than 300 people had signed the Echo’s Save Our Jobs petition, with union officials and Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who told workers she will fight “tooth and nail” to keep their jobs, also backing the move.
Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative group at Darlington Borough Council, also said they would battle to stop any jobs being relocated from Darlington.
She said: “We will be lobbying the DfE because the idea of losing these jobs is absolutely ridiculous.
“We have to emphasise there are other sites in Darlington for them to go.”
Bill Stenson, ward member for Mowden, said he and fellow ward councillor Ron Lewis would fight any move to Newcastle.
He said: “We all want the workers to stay here, Mowden Hall has been an important part of Darlington for more than 40 years.
“A lot of these people live in Mowden and it will cost them a fortune going to Newcastle.
“We have to do everything we can to keep them here, and need to find a building in the town that can take these workers.”
You can join The Northern Echo's fight to help keep jobs in Darlington, by signing an online petition at northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition