I was shortlisted to ask another question at PMQs today and chose to make the case for relocating some government departments and agencies from Westminster to Croydon.
At the moment, the Government is occuping some of the most expensive real estate in the country in SW1. Clearly some officials need to be in Westminster but there has long been a consensus that many functions could be located elsewhere.
The previous government had a plan to move lots of civil servants to other parts of the country. The problem with that is that many people would choose not to re-locate so it would end up costing more, not less, at least in the short term.
This Government has abandoned that policy but it does want to move some civil servants to outer London and the near South East. Croydon town centre is just 15 minutes from Victoria by train and rateable values are 60% lower than in central London so it is an ideal location from the Government's perspective and from our perspective any relocations would provide a welcome boost to the local economy.
It was good to get a positive response from the Prime Minister and we will be meeting Francis Maude, the relevant Cabinet Minister, to discuss how we can take this forward in early May.