ONE of Darlington’s longest established and highest profile businesses has welcomed today’s announcement that the town is on the final shortlist to be the location of a new Northern Government base.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has faced months of lobbying, with calls from politicians, business leaders, and universities, to relocate hundreds of Treasury jobs to the Tees Valley.

Darlington Building Society, which was founded in 1856, was one of the signatories of a letter to the Chancellor, from elected Mayor, Ben Houchen, underlining Tees Valley’s case.

And speculation is now rising that Mr Sunak will announce the location in next week’s Budget, with Darlington a confirmed front-runner.

Darlington Building Society Andrew Craddock said: “After a challenging year for everyone, it would be hugely welcome news for the whole of the Tees Valley, and the wider North-East, if the Chancellor confirms Darlington as the location for a new ‘Treasury North’ campus.

“Bringing Treasury jobs to the North-East would send a powerful message that the Government is serious about the levelling up agenda, and Darlington is a perfect location because of its East Coast Mainline station and proximity to both Teesside International Airport and the A1 motorway.

“We are proud to be a financial institution with a history in Darlington that goes back 165 years, we remain embedded in the local community, and we passionately recommend the town to the Chancellor as an ideal place for these Treasury jobs.”

Mr Houchen said today: “If the reports are accurate and Darlington town centre has been shortlisted as a possible location for Treasury North, it shows that Whitehall officials accept our area would make a superb location as the Treasury’s new northern base.

“Business leaders back my plan, major Universities back my plan, leaders from across the political spectrum back my plan and the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool back my plan – the questions is, will the Chancellor?”