IT would be a “huge economic and morale boost” for Bradford if it is selected as the new home of the Treasury North HQ, campaigners have said.
Following yesterday’s news that Bradford has made the final four shortlist of cities in the running to become the home of the Treasury’s new northern headquarters, campaigners said it would “breathe life back into the city”.
Bradford will reportedly go up against Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Darlington to decide where Treasury North will be based.
It’s understood that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will make a decision this weekend, with the chosen city announced in next week’s Budget, according to the Financial Times.
If Bradford is selected, it would see 22,000 civil servants moved out of London and to the district by 2030, with the initial swathe of job moves seeing 750 officials from several Government departments relocated up north.
Jac Morton formed the Bring Public Sector Jobs Back to Bradford campaign alongside fellow Bradford business owner Matthew Crowther.
Mr Morton runs city-centre based Peardrop Creative, and has been vocal in the campaign to bring jobs into the city, working closely with Shipley MP Philip Davies to lobby the Chancellor and other Treasury ministers on the topic.
He said: “It is fantastic news that Bradford has been shortlisted for the public sector jobs.
“Myself and Matthew Crowther have been doing a lot of work to highlight how badly Bradford needs these jobs.
“Bradford has consistently had a high unemployment rate, with nearly one in ten people currently unemployed.
“This is why we have been fighting to have these jobs re-located to our city, having a major employer situated at the heart of Bradford will breathe much needed life back in to the community.
“Leeds doesn’t need these jobs, they already have double the amount of public sector jobs we do, as well as seven times the amount of large employers.
“The reality is that Bradford needs jobs more and with the support of MP Phillip Davies we have done our best to fight for Bradford.”
Philip Davies, who has represented Shipley for the Conservatives for more than 15 years, said he has “no idea” which city the Chancellor will select but is hopeful the district will be his number one choice.
He said: “I’ll be finding out in Wednesday’s Budget like everyone else, but I have lobbied him persistently on this, so much so that he acknowledged it when it was first brought up in the Commons.
“It would be a huge boost for the district. Bradford has a lot of banking expertise left over from when Bradford & Bingley was shut down.
“It is also losing a lot of HM Revenue & Customs jobs to Leeds, so this would be a good way to redress the balance.
“If Bradford is picked it would be a huge economic and morale boost for the district.”
The move of jobs to the north of England is seen by the Government as a big part of it’s “levelling up” agenda.
Many constituencies in the north, such as in Keighley, switched from Labour to the Conservatives at the 2019 General Election on the back of Boris Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’ promise.
Boris Johnson has also promised to rebalance the UK’s lopsided economy by moving jobs out of London and bringing them up north.
Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, urged the Chancellor to pick Bradford as the location for the HQ, but warned “that must not be it for the levelling up agenda”.
He said: “Bradford making it through to the shortlist for the Treasury’s new Northern Hub is of course great news for the district and a real demonstration of confidence in Bradford’s abilities and potential.
“As he prepares to make his decision, I would urge the Chancellor to recognise just what this move could do for Bradford’s future, and choose to bring these jobs here.
“Not only would placing the Northern Hub in Bradford bring more of the high-wage, high-skill jobs that we desperately need in the district, but it would also bring significant investment, provide the impetus for the Government to back the much-needed infrastructure projects that we need to see in Bradford, and reverse Leeds’ stranglehold of public sector jobs in the region.
“However, we must also be mindful that the relocation of civil servants out of London across the country cannot alone be the full extent of the Government’s efforts at ‘levelling up’ the North, and it cannot be a replacement for the real devolution of powers to local leaders who are often far better placed to help overturn the huge regional inequalities that we face.”