Civic leaders in the North have made overtures to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to send Treasury jobs their way.
According to the Financial Times, the shortlist for the Treasury North project, which would see hundreds of jobs move out of London, is Bradford, Leeds, Darlington and Newcastle.
The announcement could be made in Mr Sunak’s Budget next week.
The Treasury declined to comment on the reports.
Tees Valley’s Tory elected mayor Ben Houchen said Darlington would be a strong option as it would represent a move away from the metropolitan cities to the north and south of the town.
Mr Sunak’s huge Richmond constituency in North Yorkshire lies to the south of Darlington, which is on the East Coast Main Line and voted Tory at the 2019 general election.
Mr Houchen said: “The whole point of moving senior civil servants out of the capital is to dramatically change their outlook and better inform policy, something that simply cannot and will not happen if they move to another metropolitan city such as Leeds or Newcastle.
“Now is the time for the Chancellor to be at his bravest, for him to face down the anonymous Sir Humphreys within the Treasury who think we don’t have enough culture to be home of the Government’s more important and powerful department.”
Applying pressure on Mr Sunak, he added: “Business leaders back my plan, major universities back my plan, leaders from across the political spectrum back my plan and the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool back my plan – the questions is, will the Chancellor?”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hartley, who is director of Invest Newcastle, said the project could transform the city.
Newcastle has 50,000 students living in the city centre, is a tech hotspot and offers “exceptional quality of life”, she said.
“As the economic and cultural hub of the North East and as the most northern city in the running, we believe we have distinctive qualities that positions us perfectly to deliver the Government’s aspirations,” she added.
Leeds, already a financial powerhouse in the North, also made a claim for the prize.
Leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis said: “We would love to welcome the Treasury’s new economic campus to Leeds, and believe they would thrive in our city, which is right at the heart of the UK.
“Not only do we have strong financial services credentials, we also offer access to a wealth of so many talented, diverse people from across the city and Yorkshire.”
Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said his attempts to attract the Treasury to the town had been ignored.
He said: “There is absolutely no transparency over this process whatsoever.
“We’ve no idea how various proposals are being assessed.”
Bradford City Council was approached for comment.