HUNDREDS of leading Treasury officials will be moving to Darlington in the near future as the Government begins to shift decision-making out of the capital.

They will be joined by Government ministers, including the Chancellor himself, and by financial civil servants from three other departments which regularly interact with the Treasury. This will form an “economic campus” which is likely to be based initially at Feethams House once the vaccination programme has finished.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak began to outline the enormity of the move in an interview with The Northern Echo as he was joined on Teesside by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – their double presence reinforcing the perception that the region has done well out of Wednesday’s Budget.

Click or tap the image below to hear the full interview.

“There are going to be key decision makers here, this is not going to be some outpost or back office,” said Mr Sunak. “It is going to be a fully integrated part of the Treasury and all the other economic departments as well.”

Officials from the business, trade and local government departments will be on the campus.

“First and foremost, I am going to be there and other ministers as well, and that’s the way that people should realise that this is important to us.”

When in the North-East, Mr Johnson always mentions that his great-great-great-great-grandfather was born in Darlington in 1813 and was a baker. He said: “I am very proud that Darlington is at the heart of the effort to make and roll out the national dough. This will be absolute knockout campus and the top people will be there.”

The Northern Echo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (right) with Jerry Hopkinson (second left), Chief Operating Officer and vice chairman of PD Ports, and Frans Calje Chief Executive Officer of PD Ports during a visit to

Mr Sunak, the Richmond MP who has a constituency home just outside Northallerton, outlined why Darlington had been chosen for the Treasury in the face of competition from places like Newcastle, Leeds and Bradford.

He said: “The Treasury is full of really, really talented people who are incredibly smart and hard working and we are reliant on being able to attract people like that to work for us, and Darlington is situated between the universities of Teesside, Durham, York and Newcastle – fantastic universities with fantastic economics programmes, all commutable, so we’ll have great access to talent.

“And it is a wonderful place to live, whether it’s the cost of living, a flat in central London compared to a four bedroomed house here, or the schools that are excellent – we’ve done a lot of work for civil servants with young families to ensure the quality of schooling in the area is really good.

“I’m biased, we’ve got the North York Moors, the Whitby coast, think of everything that is on your doorstep, this is a fantastic place to live and bring up a family.

“It’s brilliantly accessible whether from the airport or the train station, you can get everywhere you need to go. With the National Infrastructure Bank an hour down the road in Leeds, you put all of that together and I am incredibly excited for the Treasury and for Darlington.”

Mr Sunak also said that, unlike some of the other bidders, the Tees Valley Conservatives led by Ben Houchen and Peter Gibson made a concerted effort to impress upon the civil servants that Darlington was the place for them.

It is expected that there will be some local recruitment and that, as there is no office space in town for 750 people, a new build will be required on the Central Park site near Bank Top station.

The second of the Budget’s major announcements to benefit the region was that one of the country’s first eight freeports is to be established at Teesport.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Johnson said: “Our ambition is to go from where we were when the steelworks closed six years ago, which was very sad, to a situation where we have 18,000 jobs in the freeport, and they can be in sectors like carbon capture and storage, wind technology, a huge range of possibilities opening up. I’m very excited by what I’ve seen here.”

Mr Sunak said: “Free trade zones and ports have been used to create tons of jobs. In the US almost half-a-million people are employed in over 200 free trade zones, so they work internationally, and we haven’t been able to do them in the way that we wanted to fully until we have left the EU.

“We are turbocharging them with really attractive incentives for business, making it easier for them to import and export, to invest in new equipment and plant, and also to employ people and we think all of that will lead to great local jobs.

“It will be genuinely transformational.”