Darlington MP Jenny Chapman supports campaign to keep about 400 civil service jobs in town

A CAMPAIGN to keep up to 400 civil service posts in Darlington has received fresh impetus after the town's MP Jenny Chapman backed plans to deliver a Northern Echo petition to Downing Street.

Staff at the Department for Education (DfE) offices in Mowden Hall, Darlington, could be relocated to Newcastle as part of government budget cuts.

The move comes as DfE bosses look to axe 1,000 jobs nationally, and Mowden Hall has been identified for closure owing to its poor state of repair.

Staff are currently drawing up plans alongside union officials to stay in Darlington, with a decision on their future expected in March next year.

To date, about 750 people have signed The Northern Echo’s Save Darlington Jobs petition, and Mrs Chapman said she fully supported proposals to help present the campaign to Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Mrs Chapman, who has vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to keep the workers in Darlington, said: “This is not just about any jobs; these are skilled positions with staff working in a number of key areas that cannot easily be replicated.

“Their kind of expertise is something that the department is not going to find anywhere else.

“These people have given their careers to serving education and these plans put them in a very difficult position.”

Mrs Chapman will meet Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon and chief executive Ada Burns this week to put forward alternative town sites to house DfE staff, which include Lingfield Point and Northgate House.

She said: “We need to agree on an outcome that the town can all support and put forward premises which are appealing and viable to keep the DfE in Darlington.

“It is about being pragmatic and we need to put the best case forward for the staff and the town.”

The campaign to keep the jobs in Darlington has also received support from Coun Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Council.

He said: “The majority of people affected live within the Tees Valley so these are key jobs in our area.

“There is fabulous alternative office accommodation available and we will support Darlington Borough Council in maintaining the jobs in the town.”

You can join The Northern Echo's fight to keep jobs in Darlington, by signing an online petition at northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition

Comments (5)

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10:48pm Sun 18 Nov 12

Hunty1 says...

Nobody petitioned for the rest of the county when jobs were lost?
Nobody petitioned for the rest of the county when jobs were lost? Hunty1

12:59pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Skallywagg says...

@Hunty1.

Very short sighted and selfish perspective, Oh and I don't work there before you reply. We need to keep the jobs in Darlington to benefit the local economy, knock on effects......
@Hunty1. Very short sighted and selfish perspective, Oh and I don't work there before you reply. We need to keep the jobs in Darlington to benefit the local economy, knock on effects...... Skallywagg

3:29pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Homshaw1 says...

Four hundred jobs of this type is massive

If you look at the Darlington economy. Initially there will be extra demand caused by redundancy payments. The new leisure development will give a boost during its building phase

After that 400 people will receive JSA instead of a regular wage.

Many of the new leisure complex jobs will be part time and low wage and will simply save the government paying JSA. I can not see how it will put large sums into the local economy

This coupled with cuts in goverment grants to council spending and we are talking a big drop in demand in the local economy - Darlington's very own fiscal cliff

This can not be allowed to happen without doing everything possible to stop it.
Four hundred jobs of this type is massive If you look at the Darlington economy. Initially there will be extra demand caused by redundancy payments. The new leisure development will give a boost during its building phase After that 400 people will receive JSA instead of a regular wage. Many of the new leisure complex jobs will be part time and low wage and will simply save the government paying JSA. I can not see how it will put large sums into the local economy This coupled with cuts in goverment grants to council spending and we are talking a big drop in demand in the local economy - Darlington's very own fiscal cliff This can not be allowed to happen without doing everything possible to stop it. Homshaw1

5:26pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Homshaw1 says...

Northgate House hasn't enough parking and staff can't afford to pay for car parks every day.

Lingfield Point sounds a far better option. Easy road access, good facilities, even a cafe on site
Northgate House hasn't enough parking and staff can't afford to pay for car parks every day. Lingfield Point sounds a far better option. Easy road access, good facilities, even a cafe on site Homshaw1

7:16am Wed 28 Nov 12

bulldurham says...

Lingfield point is ideal for this facilty . as a person who works in newcastle the average season ticket on the train now costs £2044 pounds,from darlington to newcastle . that dosent include bus or metro fares . and dosent even guarntee you a seat on the train.
Lingfield point is ideal for this facilty . as a person who works in newcastle the average season ticket on the train now costs £2044 pounds,from darlington to newcastle . that dosent include bus or metro fares . and dosent even guarntee you a seat on the train. bulldurham

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