Financial Wilde "appalling and incredibly expensive" plans for £ 350 million worth of Essex headquarters to house a new facility to replace Public Health England
- The National Institute for Health Protection has replaced Public Health England
- Matt Hancock has presented plans to relocate the NIHP headquarters to Essex
- Treasury insiders have criticized the plans, calling them "appalling and incredibly expensive".
The Treasury Department has torn apart a "horrific and incredibly expensive" plan for a £ 350 million headquarters in Essex to house a new facility that will replace Public Health England.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced last week that the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) will replace PHE and that it has already started working as a replacement.
The NIHP has a "single and relentless mission: to protect people from external threats to the health of this country such as biological weapons, pandemics and all kinds of infectious diseases," said Hancock.
However, the £ 350million plans for a headquarters in Essex are being questioned. Treasury sources call it "appalling and incredibly expensive".
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives on Downing Street following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in May
Chain of Command: Baroness Harding will report directly to the Minister of Health today following her appointment as interim chief of the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP)
The move, which would include the creation of state-of-the-art laboratories for public health, is to be personally endorsed by the Minister of Health.
Inside sources have told the Telegraph that Treasury Secretary Steve Barclay will be making material changes to the proposals due to his personal reservations about the move.
The Department of Health had planned to move PHE headquarters to Harlow by 2025, a proposal that was fiercely rejected due to financial concerns.
Treasury sources have suggested plans for the Essex headquarters in their current form are unjustifiable to taxpayers.
Following the announcement that it would scrap the PHE for the new NIHP, some believed the plan to move to Essex would be scrapped, but the NIHP only plans to replace its predecessor as a user of the site.
Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay is pictured during a visit to Edinburgh in July this year
Mr. Barclay is currently reviewing the business case for the project and is working with the Ministry of Health.
"The Treasury Department doesn't want it to happen because it's a vanity project," a source familiar with the issues told the Telegraph.
& # 39; Basically, Hancock lost the plot. He spends money like water. It's a waste and he doesn't know what he's getting for his money. You spent five years planning this move. & # 39;
The source added that PHE executive director Duncan Selbie is "hanging around" in his role advising the Department of Health to ensure the move takes place.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have the final say on whether to approve funding for the plans, and he will choose to do so after reviewing a modified business case for the project designed by Mr Barclay.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on February 14, 2020
A health ministry insisted that Mr Selbie focus on other elements of the transfer despite previous plans for the move.
Regarding the Harlow plans, they said the department needed "21st century public health laboratories."
They added that the Harlow move is about "strengthening" Porton Down, which currently has employees.
Three years ago the government bought the Harlow property for £ 35 million.
The Harlow plans included the relocation of employees from Porton Down and its London facilities.
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