Chancellor Rishi Sunak spent his first day at the Darlington Economic Campus today - marking the official start of a massive Level Up boost for the town and calling for more local people to join him and his team.

Senior staff at the Treasury and other key Government departments are on their way to the town as  part of the Prime Minister's Levelling Up agenda which decentralises Government and spreads his senior team around the country.

Until the new Economic Campus is built, the teams will be based alongside Department for Education colleagues at Bishopsgate House behind the council offices and then Feethams House opposite the DL1 leisure complex.

The Northern Echo: The Chancellor with the new Campus branding at Feetham's HouseThe Chancellor with the new Campus branding at Feetham's House

Mr Sunak said: “Our campus in Darlington is one of the ways we are delivering on our commitment to level up. Opening up job opportunities in the region will help us diversify the way we make policy and broaden our access to skills and talent.

“We will be launching a recruitment drive next week and I would urge as many local people as possible – from Darlington and the wider region – to apply now and join our growing team here.”

The fact that the Chancellor now has a desk here and is having meetings and coping with a full workload is a clear signal that this is not just political posturing. It is happening and the region is fully in the economic spotlight as a key part of the Government operation.

Read more: New Office for National Statistics jobs

Mr Sunak spent the day in various meetings and had lunch at the Bishopsgate House canteen with his staff and it is then understood that he left for his  home near Northallerton.

The spin-off effect of the Levelling Up strategy for local shops and business will be significant - and not just with the input of the hundreds of staff. With so much attention on the town and the region, investors will be keen to also place their businesses at this new regional heart of Government.

Read more: First civil servants to start work

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “When we secured Treasury North for Darlington it was a huge coup to beat off competition from Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds. 

“At the time I said the new Treasury HQ would be more than just a regional outpost for civil servants doing back office jobs, I said it would be a major base with the most senior officials in the most important government department regularly working from the new office, and here’s the proof. 

“If people want to know what levelling up looks like, this it is. The Chancellor working from a permanent desk in Darlington will give him first hand insight into the opportunities and challenges people and businesses across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool face. 

“Having Rishi and his officials here will also mean they can see the huge progress we’re making first hand at the Teesworks site as we breathe new life into the former Redcar steelworks and deliver 18,000 good-quality, we’ll paid jobs for local people through the UK’s biggest Freeport.

“Just six months ago the Chancellor stood at the despatch box and announced he’d be setting up a new base for the Treasury 250miles North in Darlington and already he’s set up his desk in the town. 

“This is a Chancellor who gets things done and is levelling up the North. There’s over 60 jobs up for grabs right now and I’d urge people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to take the most of these good quality well paid job.”

Department for International Trade (DIT) has accelerated its recruitment in the area for UK Trade and Investment North, also based in Darlington. It aims to have 500 roles in the town by 2030.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, plus the Office of National Statistics and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will also be basing themselves in Darlington.


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