STAFF at the UK Government’s flagship Scottish site are leaving their roles or fear for their future due to Westminster’s “mishandling” of a new department, MPs have claimed.

Ian Murray, Shadow Scottish Secretary, has raised serious concerns over the formation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), and its implications for the UK Government’s base at Abercrombie House in East Kilbride.

Mr Murray and his colleague Preet Kaur Gill, Shadow Secretary for International Development, have written to the FCDO chief Dominic Raab MP calling for urgent clarification on staffing in the new department.

In June the Prime Minister announced that the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development (DfID) would be merged, with the FCDO opening officially in September.

Now the Labour MPs say senior FCDO staff have been warned about voluntary redundancies while other highly-experienced personnel have left for more secure roles due to the uncertainty of the new department.

However the FCDO insists the merger will boost the East Kilbride site and its staff levels, with numbers rising from 950 in September 2019 to more than 1100 in October this year

The MPs have urged the Foreign Secretary to confirm that the decision to drop the foreign aid budget to 0.5 per cent will not affect the number of jobs at the former DfiD site in East Kilbride, or the quality of jobs on offer there.

In their letter, seen by The Herald, the MPs said Mr Raab’s “inaction” was having a “detrimental impact on the civil servants to whom you have a duty of care.”

They added: “Failure to act as a responsible employer will lead to a massive loss of skill and expertise built-up over many years” and warned it would “impact our capacity to be a force for good...and do away with a vital component of the UK’s soft power.”

They said the East Kilbride office “employs hundreds of people who provide some of the world’s poorest with lifesaving and life-changing support, as well as contributing tens of millions to the local economy”and added: “The Prime Minister announced the merger months ago and the department has existed for two and a half months. How is it that the government still doesn’t know what the intended size or shape of it will be?”

They continued: “Despite the apparent lack of a plan...we understand that proposals for restructuring have already been sent out to director-level employees which includes written confirmation of the potential for voluntary redundancies.”

They have asked if “64 UK-based director-level roles are within the scope of this programme” and whether the “e intention is to reduce the number to 39”.

According to Mr Murray, who has met with trade unions representing the government employees, there is already a “brain drain” happening at Abercrombie House as experienced employees take up more stable jobs elsewhere.

The MP for Edinburgh South explained: “There’s a bit of recruitment in Scotland in terms of public service, the Scottish Government are recruiting people due to post-Brexit powers coming over, and so people are leaving. Of course, the more people leave, particularly if they are in middle to senior management, the easier it becomes to make a decision to look at whether or not an office is viable.”

Mr Murray added that plight of staff in East Kilbride goes against Westminster’s plans for “levelling up” and diversifying power across the UK.

He said: “It flies in the face of the Government’s strategy to get jobs and responsibility of out Whitehall, full stop.

“Here’s a flagship place in East Kilbride that deals with international development. It should be one they should be very proud of, not somewhere staff are feeling uncertain about their future. The Foreign Secretary has to resolve this.”

An FCDO spokesman said: “The Foreign Secretary has committed to substantially increasing our presence in East Kilbride.

“Abercrombie House is responsible for world-leading international development work and staff based there will cover the full range of roles required to continue our mission to be a force for good in the world.

“We have been engaging fully with staff and with their trade union representatives throughout this process and will continue to do so.”