Lord Heseltine today sets out his ambitious vision to accelerate the transformation of the Tees Valley into a bustling powerhouse of economic activity.
The former Deputy Prime Minister is clear the Tees Valley, once the epicentre of the industrial revolution, could again be a global investment hotspot and huge generator of growth.
He makes a series of recommendations, for government and local leaders, about how they can build on the area’s heritage and expertise to create a sustainable economic future.
Lord Heseltine believes innovative thinking needs to be supported. His proposals to create the conditions for the area to prosper include:
- establishing the South Tees Development Corporation promptly
- combining all business advice and support – currently offered by several local bodies – into one service
- the Combined Authority becoming the source for ambitious, visible and determined leadership to transform education and skills across the Tees Valley
- the Government seriously investigating extending the Transpennine electrification scheme to include the Northallerton-to-Teesport line.
His independent report – commissioned by the Government last year in response to the closure of the SSI plant in Redcar – is the culmination of a five-month review, which included a series of visits to the area where Lord Heseltine met with local civic and business leaders, as well as investors.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine said:
“Tees Valley has shown time and again that spirit and skill are the essential ingredients for a successful Northern Powerhouse. This area has flown the flag for Britain around the world for centuries, and is now looking to make its mark in sectors as diverse as advanced manufacturing, energy, chemicals and processing, digital and logistics.
“The region is ready as ever to deliver in a global marketplace and I set out today how we can support this admirable ambition for it to once again assert its character on the world stage. I have been impressed by the determination of local people to lead this opportunity, and am looking forward to seeing their ambitions realised and the economic benefits this will bring not just for the Tees Valley or Northern Powerhouse, but for the country as a whole.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:
“This Government is committed to rebalancing the economy by creating a Northern Powerhouse – the Tees Valley, with its great vitality of spirit, is a key part of that. The history and heritage of this area is well known, as it was the heartbeat of the first industrial revolution. I look forward to working with local leaders and colleagues across the Government to ensure the full potential of this area is realised once again.”
Councillor Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and outgoing chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said:
“Lord Heseltine has taken a step back from the day-to-day and looked at our progress and our potential at a time when the growth in our economy has been hit by the devastating blow of the SSI closure and other job losses.
“His findings confirm that our economic foundations are sound, our local capacity is strong and our plans for future success are well drawn. He also makes it clear that delivering sustainable growth and prosperity can only be done in partnership and with adequate support from Government. I look forward to working with local leaders in all sectors and with Government to ensure that we make the most of the opportunities provided by his report.”