Case Study: The public-sector worker

Job relocation was a good move

Having your job move out of London is not the nightmare scenario many might fear, according to Dave Jones, a £20,000 a year civil servant at the Department for Education and Skills.

Mr Jones, 51, was moved to Runcorn in Cheshire from London in 1990 as part of a government drive to boost deprived areas. Hesays he is now much happier with his new life. He volunteered to move because his partner already lived in the North West. Cheaper house prices enabled him to exchange his rented flat for a three bedroom semi-detached house in Runcorn.

And whereas he used to spend up to three hours a day travelling across London, his job is now a five minute drive from his home. "It just freed up a lot of time to do other things," said Mr Jones, who is now joint chair of his local childcare partnership and deputy editor of a quarterly folk music magazine.

"It was ideal for me and fitted exactly with my personal circumstances. I think the difficulty is that the ability to relocate depends on every individual's personal situation.

But as an assistant secretary with the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mr Jones fears that his colleagues now facing relocation - at the same time as thousands of jobs are axed - will find the move more traumatic. "The main difference between my experience in 1990 and what the Government is now proposing is the sheer scale of it," he said.

"When I moved there were a few thousand people being relocated, now they seem to be talking about 20,000 to 30,000. It's hard to see how they can ensure a proper planned transfer of these people and their work. Staff are now feeling a combination of shell shock and anger. This has come as a complete bombshell and will have a terrible impact on morale."

Sarah Cassidy

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