Could York be the second centre of government?

York is being lined up us as a potential location for senior civil servants and the House of Lords.

According to reports in The Times, Downing Street is considering the historic city as a potential second centre of government as it looks to move staff out of London.

In January York was touted as the future home of the House of Lords. The then chairman of the Conservative Party, James Cleverly confirmed on Sky news that a move to the city was being investigated.

Now, reports claim that talks are “pretty serious” and that officials are already looking into property in the area – suggesting they will swap terraced houses in East Dulwich for “substantial Edwardian villas in Harrogate”.

The move to de-centralise officials to hubs around the country are believed to be part of the Government’s plans to better connect with the country.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, told the BBC at the weekend it was “vitally important that decision makers are close to people.”

Gove however would not be drawn on the topic of the Lords moving to York, simply stating that was a “question for the House of Commons and the House of Lords” to decide upon.

Departments apparently have two weeks to submit preliminary plans outlining how they and their staff could move out of the capital.

If York is selected as a hub, it would mark a return to a role in central government for the city; having previously been home to Council of the North, before it was abolished in the seventeenth century.

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