Tees Valley Mayor
About the Mayor
Ben Houchen was elected as the Mayor of the Tees Valley in May 2017. The Tees Valley area covers the five boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees.
Prior to becoming Mayor, Ben was a Councillor on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, representing Yarm and Kirklevington Ward. He also led the Council’s opposition Group. In 2012 he stood as the parliamentary candidate in the Middlesbrough by-election, and in 2014 stood to become our region’s Member of the European Parliament.
Ben is Teesside born and bred. A qualified solicitor, he has worked for two local firms specialising in commercial litigation and employment law. In 2016 Ben founded BLK UK – an international sportswear business, which supplies clothing to amateur and professional clubs. As Chief Executive of BLK UK, he delivered an impressive programme of growth and company expansion. Since the election, Ben has stepped down from his position at BLK and is dedicating all of his time to his Mayoral role.
Ben lives in Yarm with his wife Rachel, a French teacher at a local secondary school.
What the Mayor does
As Mayor, Ben is accountable to and represents around 670,000 people across all five boroughs in the Tees Valley. Ben’s primary role is to steer the work of the Tees Valley Combined Authority – the body that drives economic growth and job creation in the area. The job of the Mayor ranges from setting budgets and priorities for economic development, transport, infrastructure and skills, to acting as an ambassador for our region to attract inward investment.
The Combined Authority is not a ‘super-council’ or another version of Cleveland County Council – the five Tees Valley councils will continue to exist in their own right, delivering local services and meeting the day-to-day needs of residents. The Mayor and Combined Authority do not replace, nor can they overrule local councils.
In exchange for more powers and control over local budgets, the Tees Valley agreed to elect a Mayor who would act as a single point of accountability – to both local people and central government.
Devolution means having more control over how and where we spend the money we have. It means we can design services and find ways of working that better meet the needs of the Tees Valley and the people that live, work and invest here. It also means we can boost our economy and reinvest money back into the region to where it is needed most.
Ben is able to make some decisions independently, but others involve consultation with, and approval of, all five leaders of our local councils in the Tees Valley. Some decisions need unanimous support, others need a majority.
Why do we need a mayor?
In exchange for more powers and control over local budgets, Tees Valley agreed to elect a regional mayor who would act as a single point of accountability – to both local people and central government.
It means we can design services and find ways of working that better meet the needs of Tees Valley and the people that live, work and invest here. It means we can boost our economy and reinvest money back into the region to where it is needed most.
Tees Valley Mayor
Tees Valley Combined Authority
Teesdale Business Park