COUNCIL chiefs have welcomed initial plans which could prevent hundreds of jobs being moved away from the borough.
North Tyneside Mayor Linda Arkley wrote to the government last month voicing concerns at plans by Hewlett Packard – who undertake work for government departments, including the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – could relocate 200 jobs from its Cobalt Business Park site to India.
But this week Minister for Employment Chris Grayling has replied saying that the government “will not offshore any DWP jobs”.
The minister also confirmed that they were looking at ways to minimise the offshoring of jobs and whether jobs already transferred to other countries could be brought back to the UK in the future.
In welcoming the news, Mrs Arkley said: “I am delighted that the Minister has listened to our representation and is taking action by clamping down on future offshoring and seeking a solution to jobs lost previously abroad.
“In the current economic climate it is important that we all work together to ensure that we keep local jobs and provide as many opportunities as possible for the region’s workforce.”
Hewlett Packard employs 375 people at its Cobalt Business Park site, with some carrying out work for the Ministry of Defence as well as the DWP.
In Mrs Arkley’s letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, she said: “North Tyneside Council is committed to supporting business-led growth and development and works proactively to bring jobs and investment to the area as we look to rebuild and rebalance the UK economy.
“Losing a firm like Hewlett Packard would be a major blow to the area and the local economy.
“Other government ministers, including yourself, have stated publicly that the government’s view is that jobs should be available to British workers, and particularly in an area such as ours, losing these jobs would be a major blow.”
In response Mr Grayling, pictured, confirmed: “We will not offshore any DWP jobs.
“I share your concerns regarding work being done by offshore suppliers.
“The department is exploring how future offshoring can be minimised and whether jobs currently offshored could potentially be moved back to the UK in the future.”
He confirmed discussions have already been held with Hewlett Packard on the issue, with more taking place.