North East Devolution and Levelling Up


The Department for International Trade is to open a hub in Darlington, bringing 500 senior civil service jobs to the town by 2030, the government announced today, in what could be seen as another favour for Tees Valley’s Tory Mayor, Ben Houchen. 

The Darlington hub will be one of four new hubs designed as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK, said the Department for International Trade (DIT). The others will be in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. 

The DIT hub is the latest of a slew of government announcements for the Tees Valley area, including a Treasury hub for Darlington and a freeport for the Tees.

The announcement comes just weeks before Mayor Houchen is to stand for re-election on May 6. A parliamentary by-election due to be held in Hartlepool, which is being seen as a test of Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party, may be held the same day.

The trade hubs will be home to teams of export and investment specialists, who will be able to provide businesses with expert support and advice, according to the DIT:  

‘The launch of the trade hubs marks the start of a major export drive, which will see DIT focussed on promoting British exports from all parts of the UK, to help level up the country, build back better, and support a resilient economy’.