DAVID Cameron’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is to leave its East Kilbride base – despite officials having been working on plans for a new office in the area.

The Labour-led South Lanarkshire Council has been left “astounded” by the news after learning about it through a trade magazine, The Herald reports.

Leader Joe Fagan is working to arrange a meeting with officials at the governmental department in response to the development.

It comes just two years after 500 Foreign Office jobs were moved to the East Kilbride base, with the department saying it would have 1500 workers there by 2025.

The National:

The Abercrombie House office, which is now home to 1000 staff, was previously the home of the Department for International Development prior to its integration into the Foreign Office.

Now, it appears that the base will be moved to central Glasgow as it struggles to recruit the additional staff to the town.

HMRC will reportedly take over the building after the move, which is expected in the next two years.

Speaking to The Herald, Councillor Fagan said: “I am frankly astounded by the announcement on the FCDO – both the decision itself and the way it has been made.

“These staff have been working, and in many cases living, in East Kilbride for decades and are important contributors to our local community and economy.

“The FCDO announcement has been made out of the blue, suggesting not just a failure of communication but also a lack of coherence in their decision-making process. The reasons given for the decision are also weak, to say the least.

“We call for urgent further discussions on this situation.”

READ MORE: Furious Alister Jack says Scottish ministers must follow Foreign Office rules

The council's chief executive Paul Manning said the local authority is "disappointed" that the FCDO has signalled it intends to relocate.

“East Kilbride is an excellent location for public organisations and private businesses, and I am sure everyone is keen to see Scotland’s oldest and biggest new town prosper," he added. 

The news comes after Cameron sent a letter to the Scottish Government warning that support would be removed if ministers continue to meet with foreign government representatives without a FCDO figure present.

"My officials have Informed me that First Minister Yousaf met President Erdogan of Turkiye while at COP28 last week, discussing among other things the situation in Gaza," the unelected Foreign Secretary wrote in a letter to Angus Robertson.

"It is critical that that the UK presents a consistent message to our international partners and that the devolution settlements are respected. We must ensure that UK foreign policy, a reserved matter, is coherent and that we speak with one voice to the international community.

"I remain open to discussing a constructive way forward. However, any further breaches of the protocol of ministerial meetings having a FCDO official present will result in no further FCDO facilitation of meetings or logistical support.

"We will also need to consider the presence of Scottish Government offices in UK Government posts. I would be grateful for swift action to resolve this issue and I look forward to hearing from you."

Commenting, SNP MSP for East Kilbride Collette Stevenson told The National: “After promising more jobs would come to East Kilbride, the Westminster government's decision to axe around 1000 jobs based in East Kilbride is a hammer-blow to our town and local economy. 

"What will be especially horrifying to local residents is that this decision was taken by David Cameron, an unelected Tory lord with no democratic mandate. 

"As MSP for East Kilbride I am calling on all elected representatives to speak out against this decision, including Lisa Cameron MP [below], who must stand up for her constituents in the face of this appalling decision from her party. 

“I have requested an urgent meeting with the Tory government to challenge this decision in the strongest possible terms and campaign for a reversal." 

The National: Lisa Cameron defected to the Conservatives from the SNP

A UK Government spokesperson said no jobs would be lost as part of the scheme.

“The FCDO is growing its presence and number of staff in Scotland.

"To widen their future talent pool, FCDO is relocating to a modern building in central Glasgow confirming the Government’s long-term commitment to Scotland.

"HMRC will be moving into Abercrombie House, which is a building that is already part of the UK Government estate, providing better value for money to the taxpayer and which will continue to boost the economy of East Kilbride. HMRC is still at the early stages of plans for the building and hopes to confirm timelines in the spring.”

The Alba Party have called the decision to relocate "a betrayal of workers in East Kilbride" and that it is a "hammer blow to the local economy",  criticising the fact no consultation about the impact the decision would have on the local community.

Chris McEleny, the Alba Party's general secretary, said: "This is the latest in a long line of broken promises by the Better Together Campaign that pressured workers into voting No in 2014 as part of a fear campaign that their area would lose jobs. Scotland voted No and now the jobs are going and will leave behind a massive black hole in the local economy. 

“It’s ironic that this decision has been made by David Cameron who was the Prime Minister that signed the Vow alongside his Labour and Lib Dem Better Together partners. 

“Any promises that these jobs will simply be relocated but will not be subject to redundancy should be taken with a pinch of salt. Moving 1000 jobs from a town to a city is completely against the Government’s levelling up agenda.” 

Gillian Mackay, Scottish Greens MSP for Central Scotland - which includes East Kilbride - said the decision to relocate was "further proof" the Tories "don't care about the impact that their decisions have on workers and communities".

She added: “Nobody should have to find out about news that could impact their job in this way.

"The UK government must now work closely with unions and local representatives in the interests of everyone who will be affected.”

The Scottish Government declined to comment.