It would be a huge boon for Darlington to be hailed as the Treasury’s second home and 674 of the promised 1,139 jobs have already moved to the town. This is part of a wider government program to relocate 20,000 public sector jobs from the capital within a decade. 11,168 people have already been relocated, with the North West the biggest beneficiary.
The government estimates that every 1,000 jobs relocated will boost the local economy by £30 million and that eight of the 10 jobs relocated have gone to local people. The government has not explained how these figures work, but it does suggest how the local economy will benefit.
However, it is not a one-way street. In return, we hope that the Treasury will make better quality decisions for the benefit of the whole country by being based in a grassroots place like Darlington rather than the upscale atmosphere of London.
This will take it to a higher level to ensure that the entire nation benefits from government spending and not just the South East. It is unfortunate that the transport budget is not distributed fairly.
And another argument. With the purchase announcement, several artistic impressions of the six-story Brunswick office building were published, showing that an inconspicuous box is to be deposited in the city center. Is it too much to ask that, in addition to stimulating the economy, the building will also make a positive contribution to the streetscape? Why doesn’t the Treasury truly engage with the community it will call home and involve local people in the design – and name – of the new office building?