Labour MP Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) accused David Cameron of “empty words” when he raised plans to cut 500 jobs by SSCL, a private firm part-owned by the Government, which is closing sites in Sheffield, Cardiff and Leeds later this year.
SSCL – Shares Services Connected Ltd – is a joint-venture between the government and Steria, a British subsidiary of the French company Groupe Steria, a multinational information technology services company headquartered in Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Mr Blomfield said: “In January, the Prime Minister told the World Economic Forum that he wanted the UK to become ‘the re-shoring nation’, to bring jobs back from abroad.
“Now the Government is letting a private company take an axe to publicly- funded civil service jobs in Sheffield and move the work out of the country.
“Unless urgent action is taken, the Prime Minister’s statement will be seen as nothing more than empty words.
“It’s a disgrace that ,after years of loyal service, these staff are losing their jobs simply because the Government can replace them with cheap labour in India.”
Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd told a Westminster Hall debate that a wider context was one of a “vibrant” job generation in the UK, with a million private sector jobs created since the 2010 election.
“For a long time now, including under the previous government, as highlighted in 2004 by the Gershon Review, there has been consistent advocacy for the need and opportunity to consolidate back-office functions throughout government.
“The belief is that we can deliver between £400m and £600m per annum in savings for the taxpayer in such a process, while freeing the Civil Service to concentrate on its core role of delivering exceptional public services.”
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: “While we welcome the commitment to seek redeployment for our members in order to mitigate the impact of the redundancies, it is unacceptable that the minister did not explain why the Government is sanctioning SSCL’s offshoring, or why no economic impact has taken place.
“The Government should act now to keep these jobs in the UK, rather than attempt to cynically exploit the inferior pay and employment conditions that workers abroad face.”