Business & Invest | Published on: 13th March 2023
The Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, has called for the Tees Valley to be awarded Investment Zone status.
Upon taking office, the Government initially shelved the Investment Zone policy, yet have since kept it under review.
The Tees Valley Mayor has now called on the Government to revive this pro-growth policy to help throw new weight and energy behind the levelling up agenda.
Investment Zones work in a similar way to Freeports, a policy designed by the Tees Valley Mayor and Prime Minister, but have a stricter focus on town centres rather than port areas. They are designed to drive growth by cutting red tape, including planning regulation, and offering time-limited tax incentives.
Mayor Houchen said: “As home of the first and largest freeport, here in Teesside we have seen how important pro-business policies are in attracting investment and jobs.
“Already we have seen significant international investment and the creation of hundreds of jobs in the freeport due to the tax and customs incentives attached, and I want to see this model rolled out across more of Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool.
“Making our towns competitive on a global scale is the best way to attract investment and good quality jobs for people of Teesside and will allow us to build on the work we are already doing.
“It is clear that economic times are tough and whilst huge spending is not possible, Investment zones provide a perfect vehicle to continue the Government’s record of levelling up and keep the money flowing into the regions.
“We are already turbo-charging the redevelopment of Middlesbrough and Hartlepool through the creation of Mayoral Development Corporations which will finally allow us to direct much needed money to these towns in order redevelop them.
“We have already earmarked £28million for the MDCs and the introduction of an Investment Zone on top of this would accelerate our plans to make these towns what we know they can be.
“I hope the Government review this policy carefully and consider the huge impact Investment Zones could have for places like Teesside.”
The Mayor will be down in London on Tuesday for last minute crunch talks with the Chancellor ahead of the Budget and will ask for Investment Zones to be brought back to the table.
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