Darlington Economic Campus has been confirmed as the second headquarters for the Department for Business and Trade – further establishing the town as major location for UK Government.

The announcement by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch will bring additional high quality civil service jobs to the region and ensure decisions by senior officials are made in the North for the benefit of all the UK.

The move recognises the success of the Campus after it became the home of Treasury North when it launched in 2021.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the decision would make DEC the biggest Department of Business and Trade site outside London.

The Northern Echo: Join us at Ramside HallJoin us at Ramside Hall (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “This is hugely significant news for Darlington and supports our vision that Treasury North would just be the start of establishing our region as a key location for multiple Government departments.

“It cements our ambitions to bring hundreds more high-quality civil service jobs – so our talented workforce has the chance to stay local and go far in a top career.

“It also means knock on benefits for the town and our wider region as more staff spend their money here and boost our economy.

“What’s more, we’ll have the ear of even more decision makers to ensure the voices of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are heard and listened to.”

The Northern Echo: The DEC base at FeethamsThe DEC base at Feethams (Image: Press release)

The move of Civil Service roles to Darlington is expected to generate around £30million per 1,000 roles relocated in economic benefits for the town, down to increased footfall and spending from staff.

Around 600 staff work at DEC’s current location at Feethams House but will ultimately move to a new larger permanent site on Brunswick Street.

Planning documents will be submitted for the new base in early 2024, with work starting next year. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026.

The new building will accommodate over 1,400 civil servants in a sustainable, working environment. 

Alongside the Treasury and Department for Business and Trade, the campus will house teams from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Office for National Statistics and the Competition and Markets Authority. They will be working alongside the Department for Education which already has a base in Darlington.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has used DEC as a base for his work during his time in top office alongside senior officials and ministers.

The Northern Echo: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt working in DarlingtonChancellor Jeremy Hunt working in Darlington (Image: Press release)

The move was revealed as the Government said its overall plans to relocate more than 20,000 Civil Service jobs outside London will be brought forward to 2027, with plans also to open second headquarters for departments in Aberdeen and Greater Manchester.

Cabinet Office minister John Glen said: “We are taking the long-term decisions to move government roles out of London so more people from our great towns and cities can play a direct role in changing this country for the better.

“We have already gone above and beyond our targets, bringing the best talent from every corner of the UK into government roles, to make our civil service more efficient and representative of the wider public.”

Moving civil servants from Whitehall has long been part of the levelling up agenda, with more than 16,000 moved so far.

But it has not been without criticism. The cross-party Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee warned earlier this year that the Government has provided limited detail to justify the moves while also exaggerating the success.