Tees Valley Combined Authority, the new body that will drive economic growth and job creation in the area, has met for the first time with transport, inward investment and skills featuring on the agenda.
It harnesses the economy-boosting powers of Tees Valley’s five local councils and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership to elevate partnership working between the public and private sector to a new level to create an even more effective approach to building a stronger Tees Valley.
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 but unite as a formal Tees Valley Combined Authority to focus on economic development, transport, infrastructure and skills.
Since its inception in 2011, Tees Valley Unlimited, which was one of the first Local Enterprise Partnerships in the country to gain Government approval, has forged a reputation for delivering on jobs and growth.
The new statutory body will build on the firm economic foundations that have been established by TVU, which now is an integral part of the Combined Authority.
During the last five years TVU has:
- Secured 8,163 jobs
- Attracted £174m worth of investment
- Supported £1.3bn private sector investment
- Overseen £764m investment in its Enterprise Zone
The Combined Authority will also mean that Tees Valley is ideally placed to negotiate with government to secure the transfer of additional powers and resources to the region from Whitehall.
Councillor Sue Jeffrey, Chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “Coming together as the Tees Valley Combined Authority ensures that we will have the stability we need to continue to drive economic growth and secure investment in key infrastructure and employment projects.
“We are hugely ambitious for the Tees Valley and our communities. Our existing governance arrangements have served us well, but in a fast-changing world it is essential that we continue to build on our success.
“This new arrangement cements and formalises our partnership between the five local authorities and with business through the LEP so that it is clear to everyone that we all are working together for the long-term good of Tees Valley.”
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “The Combined Authority will enable us to work more closely together to create the best possible conditions for growth including transport infrastructure, investments and improvements.”
Councillor Carl Richardson, the Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The Combined Authority will mean a seamless approach to creating a stronger Tees Valley and will enable the region to have more influence on national policies and help attract much-needed funding to improve the area’s skills base and create jobs.”
Councillor Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough, said: “The digital and creative sectors are a central theme for enterprise development, in Tees Valley with success already being achieved in this arena. With the support of the Combined Authority and its partners, the aim is to accelerate the start-up rate of cutting edge companies and help them maximise their high growth potential.”
Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton Borough Council, said: “The Combined Authority will work across traditional council boundaries and in tandem with business leaders, with a strong focus on improving the prospects of the Tees Valley and its residents.”
Paul Booth, chair of Tees Valley Unlimited, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley, said: “A unity of purpose will be created by the Combined Authority that will help Tees Valley secure a more prosperous economic future. It enhances our ability to capitalise on inward investment opportunities and help home-grown companies prosper and grow.”
Unlike most combined authorities, Tees Valley Combined Authority is holding joint meetings with the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and its business representatives, while also sharing staff and resources.