Moving hundreds of Treasury jobs to Darlington proves the area deserves a place “at the top table of Government”, a senior North East Tory has said.
Tees Valley’s elected mayor Ben Houchen welcomed the new Treasury campus, dubbed Treasury North, coming to the region – apparently beating the cities of Leeds, Newcastle and Bradford.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, whose constituency is just a few miles away in Richmond, North Yorkshire, confirmed the Treasury would establish a new economic campus in Darlington during his Budget speech on Wednesday.
Around 750 jobs are expected to move out of London to the market town and top officials, including Mr Sunak himself, are expected to be regular visitors.
Mr 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.”
The move was part of a double triumph for the region in the Budget, along with the Freeport announcement for Teesside.
Mr Houchen added: “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 bureaucrats in London who have never travelled north of the Watford Gap.
“We’ve come through many trials and tribulations in recent years but now is our time.”
Peter Gibson, Tory 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. This is a truly fantastic day for Darlington and Teesside.
“The northern Chancellor has done an outstanding job in supporting families and businesses throughout the pandemic and continues to deliver on northern priorities.”
He added: “I also look forward to hearing from estate agents in Darlington that they’ve been taking calls from Sir Humphrey.”
Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, said: “I cannot overemphasise 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.”
The announcement that Leeds will be the home of the first-ever infrastructure bank was welcomed in the city.
Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “Locating this powerful national institution in our region will be a real catalyst for change and a major driver of our post-pandemic recovery.
“It will build on our long-term commitment to ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are felt by all of our communities.”
Leeds City Council leader James Lewis said: “This move will give Leeds a central role in decisions that will shape the country’s future and its potentially transformative power should not be underestimated – particularly when working in tandem with the new Treasury North campus planned for Darlington.
“I am also determined to ensure that local people reap the benefits that it should bring in terms of job creation.”