Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed the decision to locate the Treasury’s new Northern Economic Campus, dubbed “Treasury North” in Darlington, giving the region a “seat at the top table of Government”.
Relocating a significant part of the Treasury out of London is part of the Government’s plans to move more than 22,000 senior government civil servants out of the capital by 2030 as part of its levelling up agenda.
In a major coup for the Tees Valley the region beat competition from Newcastle, Leeds and Bradford to be home of the Treasury’s second headquarters.
The historic move was backed by the overwhelming majority of local people, more than 150 local business leaders, both Teesside and Durham Universities as well as support from all five local council leaders.
Mayor Houchen has been in talks with Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and the Treasury to secure the new government centre for the region for more than a year and put forward a number of locations across the region.
In January last year Mayor Houchen welcomed Rishi Sunak, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and the Treasury’s Executive Management Board, made up of the department’s most senior officials, to some of the region’s most significant developments, including the National Horizons Centre, Teesworks and TWI’s Offshore Validation Centre.
The move will see 750 senior civil servants from the Treasury, along with other economic based departments, move to Darlington town centre, with the first members of Treasury staff possibly arriving in a matter of months.
Along with senior civil service government ministers, including the Chancellor, will be expected to spend a significant amount of time at the new headquarters.
Mayor Houchen said: “The most powerful department in Government will soon beat with a Darlington heart.
“With the incredible announcement that Treasury North is coming to Darlington, hundreds of top Treasury jobs are heading to our region. For too long areas like Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have been left behind and local people could be forgiven for thinking that we were often an afterthought. Well, that ends today. This move will put local priorities and local people from across our area at the heart of Government, as well as creating good quality, well-paid jobs for local people.
“Our children will grow up with the confidence that a top government job is within reach and that such a top career can be built right here in this great region.
“Over the last 12 months I’ve lobbied, badgered and harassed anyone who would listen. From Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister to senior civil servants and MPs, we deserve a seat at the top table of Government and I’m proud to say that we were able to come up with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Our voice was heard.
“This shows that Rishi is a true Chancellor of the North. He’s a Chancellor that understands the old ways don’t work anymore. He knew we couldn’t continue to allow vital decisions affecting our area to be made by officials in London.
“We’ve come through many trials and tribulations in recent years, but now is our time.”
Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said: “Rishi has delivered for Darlington, bringing the heart of Government to our town shows faith, and trust in what we have to offer and lays out clearly just what levelling up can mean. This really is the icing in the cake”
Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Council, said: “I cannot over emphasise just how fantastic this news is for Darlington and the Tees Valley region as a whole. Darlington is ideally placed with good rail, road and air connectivity for any businesses coming to the Tees Valley region and with the Treasury literally on our doorstep this can only be an added incentive.
“I have been delighted to work with Mayor Ben Houchen who has worked tirelessly to put Tees Valley firmly on the map for this Government’s levelling up agenda and it is clear that this huge news will benefit people across the region.
“Our ambition is for Darlington to be the place where people want to come to live, work and play. With our unique Heritage Culture, our Hippodrome Theatre, our Railway Museum, our historical Indoor Market, the excellent high standard of our housing and easy access to our remarkable regional countryside anyone moving here will have plenty to enjoy and explore.
“We are ready and will work effectively and constructively to ensure that we can meet the requirements to make this relocation as easy as possible for all and we are looking forward to early discussions with officials.”