MOVING hundreds of Foreign Office staff out of their East Kilbride base will be a “hammer blow” to the economy, the town’s MSP has warned.

Reaction is flooding in after the news that David Cameron’s department would be relocating to Glasgow, after being based in East Kilbride’s Abercrombie House since 1981.

As part of efforts to boost support for the Union and push the “Levelling Up” agenda back in 2021, the UK Government announced that an additional 500 Foreign Office jobs would be moved to the town by 2025.

With 1000 staff currently based there, it would mean 1500 civil service workers based in the building.

But according to reports, the department has struggled to meet this target as potential new-hires can’t be lured to East Kilbride.

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

Staff based in East Kilbride will head to central Glasgow, and HMRC is expected to take over the building in 2025.

But representatives in the South Lanarkshire town are not happy about the situation, or how the announcement came about.

It is understood that some in the local authority first heard about the proposals in a real estate trade magazine.

Collette Stevenson, the MSP for East Kilbride, expressed anger with the UK Government for having promised more jobs for the area – describing the about-turn as 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,” she said.

The National: Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The MSP also called on the former SNP MP – now a Conservative – Lisa Cameron to speak up for her constituents.

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

Meanwhile, Green MSP for the Central Scotland region Gillian Mackay (below) said the handling of the announcement was “proof that Tories don’t care about the impact their decisions have on workers and communities”.

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

The National: Gillian Mackay speaking with a megaphone

The Alba Party said that East Kilbride residents had been “betrayed” by Better Together.

Ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, the No campaign had spoken of its pride done by the team at the East Kilbride base.

“The United Kingdom has the world’s second largest aid budget, delivered by life-saving Scots in East Kilbride,” a graphic ahead of the vote read.

And at a Better Together campaign event in East Kilbride, former international development secretary Justine Greening claimed that voting Yes could “completely” change Scotland’s ability to help people around the world from the Foreign Office base.

READ MORE: The UK is unusual in restricting Scotland on world stage, says expert

The party’s general secretary Chris McEleny 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 LibDem Better Together partners.

“Moving 1000 jobs from a town to a city is completely against the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “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 UK 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 Scottish Government declined to comment.