March 3, 2021 @ 11:46 by Steven Hugill
A major 750-job Treasury hub is to be created in a North East town.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced Darlington will be the home to the Government’s Treasury North.
It is understood the move will see around 750 civil servants switch from London to the region in the coming months.
Reacting to the announcement, Darlington Council leader Heather Scott described the Government’s decision as “fantastic news” for the town, adding it will only strengthen the authority’s aim to make it the place “where people want to come to live, work and play”.
Speaking to the Commons during his Budget delivery today (Wednesday, March 3), Mr Sunak said the move was part of his wider commitment to levelling up the country.
It came after a video – posted on Twitter by BBC journalist Lewis Goodall – showed Mr Sunak telling civil servants of his decision.
In the short clip, the Chancellor, who is also MP for Richmondshire (North Yorkshire), says: “After a lot of thought and energy, we decided to put the new economic campus in Darlington, and I am really excited for what this means for all of you and for us.”
It is understood Darlington beat off competition from Newcastle and Leeds and Bradford to house Treasury North.
The announcement further adds to Darlington’s reputation as a national business hub, with operators such as Capita, the Student Loans Company and telecoms operator EE all having bases in the town.
Darlington is also home to a huge Amazon distribution warehouse and Cummins, which supplies engines to customers around the world.
Councillor Scott [pictured below] 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 Tees Valley 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 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.”
Mayor Ben Houchen added: “The most powerful department in Government will soon beat with a Darlington heart.
“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.
“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.
“We’ve come through many trials and tribulations in recent years, but now is our time.
“This shows that Rishi is a true Chancellor of the North.
“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.”