'Treasury must not move to Leeds or Manchester' says metro mayor Ben Houchen

The Government has been warned it needs to recognise the North is more than Manchester and Leeds in its plan to move parts of the Treasury outside of London.

Richmond MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced today that he wants to create an “economic campus” in the North as part of the Government's plans to “level up” the country.

He said a fifth of the Treasury’s workforce would be expected to move North in the next few years.

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Mr Sunak also told Sophy Ridge that staff from other "economically facing departments" would also be expected to relocate to the North.

Tory Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen.

But Ben Houchen, the Tory Metro Mayor in Tees Valley, warned it was not enough to simply move to Manchester or Leeds, as the key was getting outside of major cities.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Rishi about this excellent idea a few times. I’m delighted that he has now confirmed that he plans to relocate a substantial number of Treasury jobs out of London to the North as part of a new economic campus. It is fantastic news.

“Having a major Treasury presence in the North is a clear demonstration of the Government’s levelling up agenda. But it must not go to Manchester or Leeds.

"If this is to work it must be located outside of our major cities, so that it truly represents the North and not just another metropolitan city. It's time those in government recognise ‘the North' is more than just Manchester and Leeds, and that's why it is refreshing and reassuring to have Rishi as Chancellor.

"Somewhere like Teesside or Darlington would be ideal and would be a demonstration by the Government of their true commitment to levelling up and delivering for people who voted Conservative for the very first time at the general election.”

The move was also welcomed by Jim O’Neill, Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury.

He said: “I welcome this bold move, and hope there are soon to be more significant steps that will further help deliver the reality of the Northern Powerhouse, including education, skills, more devolution, and of course delivering on High Speed North.”

Moving the Treasury to the North was a key part of Labour’s election promises.