The Bank of England has delayed plans to move hundreds of staff from London to Leeds as the wider economic turmoil slows the institution’s plans to expand its operations outside the capital.
Plans to strengthen Threadneedle Street’s northern hub have been delayed by at least a year as the central bank scales back ambitions to increase its presence across the UK.
The plan to acquire up to 100,000 sq ft of office space has also been shelved as the Bank focuses on the economic crisis, according to The Daily Telegraph, which first reported the news.
In April last year the Bank announced plans to move staff out of London to a new northern hub, which would be developed in Leeds.
The proposals were announced shortly after the Treasury confirmed Darlington as the location for its northern base as part of the government’s strategy to “level up” the regions.
Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s governor, said at the time that moving more of its 4,000 staff outside London and the southeast would help the Bank to serve the country as a whole.
The Bank expanded its office in Leeds, which was previously used by the four staff members that make up its Yorkshire and Humber agency, in the spring. About 30 members of staff are now based at the site.
It has a network of about a dozen regional representatives, who are known as “agents”, in Glasgow and Manchester among other areas.
A Bank of England spokesman said plans for the Leeds office had not been scrapped. “We are fully committed to expanding our staff presence outside London and the southeast, in order to better serve and attract people across the UK,” he said. “It is important that we take time to get this right, not least as post-pandemic ways of working are still being established.”
He added that the Bank was “revisiting our plan and timetable but our presence in Leeds will continue to expand, and our intention to create a Northern Hub there remains”.
The Financial Conduct Authority, which is responsible for regulating financial services companies, has recently opened an office in Leeds, and it expects 100 of its employees to be based there.
Leeds is known for its diverse economy, with a large number of successful technology, financial and legal firms based in the city.