Tees Valley Business Board Announces Strategic Partnership To Break Down Barriers And Drive Inclusive Growth

Business & Invest | Published on: 10th July 2024

Tees Valley Business Board has today announced a new partnership with the Breaking Down Barriers Commission to help drive positive social change across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool.

The Business Board aims to create strong business-led partnerships, working with the Tees Valley Mayor, the Combined Authority and Local Authorities to deliver inclusive economic growth across the region. The board is led by Siobhan McArdle, alongside 12 private sector business leaders who have first-hand experience of running successful businesses or working in senior positions and who can offer a wealth of diverse, local business knowledge to drive change.

The Commission, chaired by Nick Forbes CBE, formerly a member of Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet, seeks to redefine the role of business in society by tackling inequality through collaboration with each other and through constructive engagement with government. It is focused on identifying and removing barriers to opportunity, supported by politicians, policymakers, businesses, universities, healthcare organisations and local authorities.

As part of the Breaking Down Barriers programme, Siobhan will act as Commissioner for Inclusive Growth, supporting work to boost opportunity and deliver stronger economic investment.

Welcoming the partnership with Tees Valley Business Board, Nick Forbes said: “There is a very real opportunity at this time to reimagine the relationship between business and government, one which has the potential to deliver meaningful change to regions across the country. As I know from my own experience in an area where there have traditionally been few opportunities, collaborative partnerships can be hugely effective in understanding and responding to the needs of local communities, and in providing innovative business solutions that make a difference.

“I am delighted that Tees Valley Business Board is joining us to bring their knowledge and expertise to delivering more opportunities, and I look forward to working with Siobhan and the whole board to drive vital inclusive growth in the region and nationally.”

Chair of the Tees Valley Business Board, Siobhan McArdle, said: “ We are delighted to be the first Business Board in the country to join the Commission as we are committed to driving inclusive, sustainable growth across our region.

Whilst we continue to see significant growth across the Tees Valley, we must also ensure this growth translates into equality of opportunity and is accessible to all.

We know there are many people within our communities who currently face significant challenges and barriers that, if not broken down, will continue to constrain not only their own life chances and opportunities,  but also our economic growth as a region.

Given we face some of the most challenging socio-economic conditions in the country, we look forward to working with Nick and his team, in partnership with the Tees Valley business community and our local political leaders, to help break down those barriers”.

Over the coming months, the Commission will be producing a Breaking Down Barriers report, setting out how the Tees Valley can become the centre for inclusive growth – building a stronger economy, whilst improving opportunity, the environment and good employment for all.

To find out more about the Breaking Down Barriers Commission, please visit: www.breakingdownbarrierscommission.co.uk  

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