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GCHQ to open new base in Manchester

Officials said the secure site would be at the heart of the nation’s security.

GCHQ is expanding its network of sites as Britain bolsters its defences against terror, cyber and other threats in the digital age.

The intelligence agency, often referred to as the UK’s listening post, announced it would open a new facility in Manchester next year.

Officials said the secure base would be “at the heart of the nation’s security, using cutting-edge technology and technical ingenuity to identify and disrupt threats to the UK”.

GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said: “I’m delighted we’re opening a new site in the city of Manchester.

“It will create hundreds of high-calibre jobs for people who will have a vital role in keeping this country safe.

“Our new facility will open up a huge new pool of highly talented, tech-savvy recruits vital to our future success.”

Mr Fleming praised the city’s response after the Manchester Arena bombing last year.

He said: “Manchester is a city full of innovation and talent.

“It is also a city known for its tolerance and inclusivity, which last year was tragically attacked by someone who had neither.

“In that difficult time, we at GCHQ drew strength from the togetherness and resilience shown by all of Manchester’s communities. That’s how you tackle terrorism.”

In addition to its headquarters in Cheltenham, GCHQ currently has offices in Bude, Cornwall and Scarborough, north Yorkshire.

Last year the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ, opened its headquarters in London.

GCHQ, which has a workforce of more than 6,000, works alongside MI5 and MI6.

It has been increasingly prominent in recent years as terrorists and other criminals have exploited cyber space and technology to try to hide their activities from authorities.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This announcement will create hundreds of jobs and represents a huge vote of confidence in the talent pool of potential employees in and around Manchester.

“GCHQ perform a vital role helping to keep the country safe and we look forward to welcoming them to the city in 2019.”

The announcement of the new site was made as the National Cyber Security Centre hosts the CyberUK conference in Manchester.

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