If Muhammad won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad. Or so goes a
saying popularised by Francis Bacon. It seems Andrew Mitchell, the Development Secretary, has taken this to heart and decided to move his entire Department — DfID — closer to the
Foreign Office, MoD and, of course, No 10.
After years of relishing its location — both geographically and functionally — a distance away from Whitehall, where all the other government departments are located, DfID will, I’m
told, move to 22-26 Whitehall, next to Horse Guard’s Parade.
The key point is the cost saving involved — at the moment DfID’s current building at 1 Palace St costs around £10m a year whereas 22-26 Whitehall will cost around £3.5
million a year. And as the new location is a Government freehold building, whereas 1 Palace Street is a building DfID rents from a commercial landlord, there are other advantages. This is exactly
the kind of move that a cash-strapped public want to see. But don’t expect support for DfID to shift dramatically as a result.