UK government opens new offices in Scotland to support By Reuters union

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Michael Gove arrives on Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) – The UK cabinet office will establish a “second flagship headquarters” in Glasgow as the government plans to relocate some of its operations to Scotland, ministers said on Monday, at a time when support for Scottish independence is high.

Relations between Scotland and the rest of Britain have been severely strained by a much-criticized COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, which was opposed by a majority in Scotland.

This has made for many Scots the feeling that guidelines drawn up in London do not reflect their views and make their daily lives difficult.

The cabinet office that oversees the operation of the government machine said it would create new headquarters in Glasgow, while the overseas office wanted to create 500 new jobs in an existing office in East Kilbride.

“This will not only bring new jobs and investment to Scotland, it will add diversity to the UK civil service, end the end of the Westminster approach to policy making and ensure that Scottish voices shape everything we do,” said Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove in a statement.

A total of 1,000 more jobs would be created in Scotland over the next four years. The exact functions that are to be relocated to Scotland have not been set out.

There are more than 400,000 government employees in London than any other city, although long-term attempts have been made to find more of these jobs elsewhere to challenge the perception of London-centered policymaking.

Polls show that more people in Scotland support independence than part of Britain want to stay.

Scottish nationalists are pushing for an independence referendum after the Scottish Parliament elections in May, but UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said such votes should only happen once in a generation.

In a referendum in 2014, Scots voted 55% to 45% to stay in the UK.

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