The move coincides with the release of the 2020 budget on the 11th March, just a month after Sunak replaced former chancellor Sajid Javid following a cabinet reshuffle. Along with aiming to negate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus epidemic, the Richmond MP has pledged to enact Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda by increasing governmental investment in the north.
In a broadcast interview with Sky News, Sunak said “it’s not just about building a road here or a railway station there, it’s about ensuring everyone can fulfil their dreams. I want to make sure the Treasury is at the front foot of that. We are driving economic policy in this country, it’s important that we have a presence everywhere in this country.”
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen expressed his joy at Sunak’s announcement, stating that “I’m delighted that he has now confirmed that he plans to relocate a substantial number of Treasury jobs out of London as part of a new economic campus. It is fantastic news.”
Houchen recommended that Teesside or Darlington, the latter of whom voted in a Conservative MP for the first time in 27 years in the 2019 general election, would be the ideal site for this new hub. “If it 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. 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.”