Rishi Sunak has announced the opening of two new economic centers in northern England – a move seen as an attempt by the Conservatives to bolster support outside of their traditional heartland

A treasury campus will be set up in Darlington, while a national infrastructure bank will be located in Leeds, the Chancellor confirmed in his budget address

Several other locations, including Bradford, Newcastle and Tees Valley, are said to have been considered for a plan to move officials based in Westminster north

Sunak announced plans for another Treasury Department in last year’s budget, but made the long-awaited decision to elect the town of Darlington, County Durham after an extensive scoping exercise on Wednesday

The Chancellor said he was “very excited about what this means for all of you and us,” adding that the decision followed “a lot of thought and energy” in a video message from all staff seen by the Guardian

In Leeds, Sunak promised that the infrastructure bank will be operational “in a preliminary form” by spring 2021

His job will be 13 billion GBP in equity and debt capital, guarantees of up to 10 billion Spending GBP and offering loans to local authorities from the summer

“Redrawing our economic map means rebalancing our economic investments,” added Sunak, who is also MP for Richmond in Yorkshire

Details of how many civil servants could be relocated to Darlington and how many jobs could be created in the area are not yet clear, but the government is already planning to do so by 2030To remove 000 officials from the capital

Politics echoes a promise in Labor’s 2019 general election manifesto when then-Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised “No. 11 “to break up” and move “to the north”

Sunak will likely use the announcement to underscore the government’s commitment to leveling up – a key element of the Conservative Manifesto

Ministers have been trying to find ways to hold on to the spate of so-called “red wall” seats in northern England that Labor has won under pressure from the 2019 Tory MPs campaigning for higher seats public spending is of interest

Sunak previously said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the chances that those who live in every corner of the UK receive their fair share of our future prosperity”

In the fall, the Northern Policy Foundation recommended a Manchester-based thin-tank founded by Conservative MPs to have the Treasury’s new headquarters in the north in Leeds

Tom Lees, director of the foundation, said on Wednesday that while Darlington was not their first choice, “it was in the top 20% of possible locations in the north”

He added the move should “help combat groupthink, fuel local growth and create opportunities in areas that have sometimes been overlooked and forgotten”

Darlington is close to some of the former Red Wall seats, including Sedgefield – Tony Blair’s former constituency – Bishop Auckland and North West Durham

Darlington

World News – UK – Rishi Sunak creates new business centers in Darlington and Leeds

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/mar/03/darlington-named-as-site-of-planned-treasury-northern-campus