THE fight to save a Government service and 39 jobs for a Teesside town has been lost.

The Government has decided to close Stockton Insolvency Service later this year.

Instead the jobs will be transferred to Newcastle.

The Government is also considering moving other jobs in the Stockton area, include the DVLA centre and the Public Lending Right service which collects statistics for libraries.

A spokeswoman for The Insolvency Service said all staff would be offered work in Newcastle and help offered for travel costs.

She said: “Due to recent restructuring and falling case numbers we now need less office space than that being occupied currently.

"It is therefore essential to merge the offices to remove unnecessary cost. Newcastle was chosen over Stockton due to better transport links and its ability to offer greater flexibility.”

Simon Elliott, northern regional secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “I talked to our representatives there, and they said staff were shocked and numbed.

"It’s frustrating because a Government review identified the Tees Valley as an area where jobs had to go and yet they’re cutting Government jobs right in that area. What’s more they’ve actually got Government office space available in Billingham.”

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said: “Rents on Teesside are low in comparison with major cities but, despite promises of a review of the service, they have ignored not just the need to keep jobs in our area but the loss of service to people facing insolvency who will have to travel from Teesside and beyond to Tyneside when they are vulnerable to start with.”

James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, criticised his own Government.

He said: “Whilst only having one office in the region may save money in the long run more could have been saved by moving services to Teesside rather than to Newcastle.”

“I am bitterly disappointed with this decision. Over the past nine months I have held meetings with Ministers, tabled Parliamentary questions and worked with my constituents to convince the Insolvency Service to retain its Stockton office.

"This news will be a huge disappointment to all those who use the service in Teesside and is the wrong decision.

Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Borough Council, also expressed his disappointment lamenting the loss of “high quality” jobs for the town.