UK's National Cyber Force will be based in Samlesbury
The hub will bring “thousands" of highly skilled jobs and expertise to the North West of England
The news comes after months of speculation, following the prime minister’s announcement in March that the new cyber security hub would be created in the North of England.
The choice of Samlesbury, which is a 45 minutes drive from the GCHQ site in Manchester, had been proposed by its representative, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, as well as his deputy Nigel Evans.
The decision locate the NCF in the small civil parish, which has an estimated population of 1,200 residents, will bring “thousands of highly skilled jobs and expertise to the North West”, according to an official statement made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
The NCF will “provide a catalyst for investment, but also see our levelling up agenda bring economic stimulus and tangible benefits to this region”, he added.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Wallace said that the agency will employ thousands of hackers and analysts by 2030, yet didn’t provide a direct estimate. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told IT Pro that they couldn’t provide more information due to “operational security reasons''.
Some have compared the decision to choose Samlesbury as the decision to pick Cheltenham as the location for GCHQ's headquarters.
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“Cheltenham was a small country town and look what it has done. That’s what we mean by levelling up,” Wallace told The Telegraph, adding that the NCF would “put Britain at the front” of states capable of carrying out cyber attacks.
“We will be one of the very, very few nations in the world with that scale,” he said.
The 2019 opening of GCHQ offices in Manchester’s Albert Square has helped the region establish itself as the UK’s new tech hub. It is estimated that over 15% of Manchester’s population is “employed by the digital, creative and technology sector”.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said that “basing the campus at Samlesbury in Lancashire will bring high skilled and well paid jobs to the area, building on our drive to move key public sector roles outside of London”.
“It underlines this government’s important levelling up agenda and our commitment to spread opportunity across the country,” he added.
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