The UK Government has accelerated plans to relocate more than 20,000 Civil Service jobs outside London, bringing it forward to 2027, in a move that aims to make Aberdeen the second headquarters of the Department for Energy Security.

A target to move 22,000 Civil Service roles away from capital by 2030 has been ramped up, with plans also to open second headquarters for several departments in Aberdeen, Darlington and Greater Manchester. More than 300 jobs will also be located in Wrexham in Wales.

Cabinet Office minister John Glen said the plans were a sign of the Government's commitment to levelling up: "We are taking the long-term decisions to move government roles out of London so more people from our great towns and cities can play a direct role in changing this country for the better.

"We have already gone above and beyond our targets, bringing the best talent from every corner of the UK into government roles, to make our civil service more efficient and representative of the wider public."

The news was announced just hours after council bosses in South Lanarkshire expressed their shock after learning of plans by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to quit East Kilbride.

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The local authority had been working with David Cameron's officials on plans for a new office, which would have seen a further 500 staff redeployed to work alongside an existing work force of 1000. Now councillors have learned of plans to leave the town entirely in a trade magazine for the real estate sector.

The wider project to relocate 22,000 civil service posts from the London area follows the high-profile decision by the Treasury to open an economic campus in Darlington in 2021.

The Government state that by shifting roles outside of the capital they will 'deliver economic benefits to regions across the country', while also 'strengthening the union'.

Under the plans, the Department for Business and Trade will open a second headquarters in Darlington, while the Department for Science will open one in Greater Manchester.

Aberdeen, at the centre of North Sea fossil fuel production, will become the second headquarters of the Department for Energy Security alongside Salford.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack called it "great news" and said it demonstrated the Government's commitment to "the north east of Scotland and to our oil and gas and renewables sectors".

Moving civil servants from Whitehall has long been part of the levelling up agenda, with more than 16,000 moved so far.

However, the plan has not been without criticism. The cross-party Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee warned earlier this year that the Government has provided limited detail to justify the moves while also exaggerating the success.