UP to 200 more Government staff will move to Darlington as part of an expansion of another key department.

Staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will join hundreds others at the soon-to-be-built new Darlington Economic Campus near Bank Top station.

The latest move is part of plans to expand the department’s Northern presence. A new hub, accommodating up to 400 staff, will open in Manchester as well as more staff in Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and Loughborough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced Darlington had won the battle to be home to the Government's new northern economic campus last year, with 750 Treasury officials set to relocate from London.

The initial 300 workers are based at Feethams House in the town centre, with the rest of the 750-staff due to make the move once a new build campus at Central Park is completed.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and up to 100 civil servants will also work out of the new “economic campus” alongside staff from the Department for Education.

The Northern Echo: Feethams House in DarlingtonFeethams House in Darlington

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The days of London-centric decision making belong in the past. It’s an exciting time for DCMS as we expand our regional offices and tap into a more diverse talent pool. 

“Our strength comes from our people and this will allow us to recruit the best, wherever they may be, to deliver the wide range of DCMS policies which drive growth and enrich lives all over the UK.” 

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen added: “Securing the Treasury’s new northern HQ for Darlington was a huge coup for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. At the time I said this would just be the first of many departments to move north, and since the Budget in March last year the Department for International Trade, the business Department, the Department for Levelling Up, the Office of National Statistics and the Competition and Markets Authority have all announced major staff relocations to Darlington.

“Today’s announcement that the DCMS is joining them means that more than 1,700 senior civil servants will be based here, and I’m pleased that recruitment to fill these senior Whitehall roles with local people has already begun.

“Having these government jobs in our region not only means local people can work at the heart of government in some of the most important departments without having to leave the region they love and call home, but it also means local views and experiences can inform government which will lead to policies that better reflect the country as a whole.” 

Read more: Pledge to move civil servants out of London is ‘going backwards’

The announcement comes after a new report found efforts to move civil servants out of London and into areas in the North are “going backwards”.

Since 2018, one in three civil servants has been recruited in London, meaning the number of civil servants has grown twice as fast in the capital, at 22 per cent, then it has in regions outside the city.

It was also found that more than nine in 10 civil servants employed by the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy work in London.

Further, these departments hired nearly three times as many officials within the capital as outside in the six months from March 2021.

The findings are included in a report by the Onward think tank that looked at the spread of places where Government decisions are made.

Read more: Darlington FC criticised by fans for hosting Tory minister

It states that “despite warm words and good intentions, efforts to decentralise the civil service are going backwards”.

But the Government pushed back against Onward’s interpretation of the data, arguing “these figures do not fully reflect the performance of our programme to move 22,000 civil service roles out of London by 2030”.

The Northern Echo: Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries on a recent visit to Darlington FC. Picture: DCMSCulture Secretary Nadine Dorries on a recent visit to Darlington FC. Picture: DCMS

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