Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak MP and the Treasury’s Executive Management Board, made up of the department’s most senior officials, to some of the region’s most important sites and significant developments.
The Mayor, treasury officials and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury were joined by Combined Authority directors and local MPs for a roundtable discussion at Darlington’s National Horizons Centre ahead of the trip to discuss priorities for the region.
The National Horizons Centre is a £22.3million nationally significant centre for excellence for the biosciences industry and has been developed in partnership with Teesside University. It has been supported by a £17.5million investment from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.
From there, the delegation visited the South Tees Development Corporation, the first mayoral development corporation outside greater London and the UK’s biggest investment opportunity, as well as TWI’s Offshore Validation Centre.
Located at TeesAMP in Middlesbrough, the £10million centre provides research and validation services for offshore wind tower manufacturers, as well as the oil & gas and subsea sectors. They were joined in their discussions by representatives from offshore business development organisation NOF.
Mayor Houchen said: “This was a very significant visit; it was the first time the Treasury’s Executive Management Board have visited the Tees Valley and goes to show just how much Whitehall decision-makers are taking notice of what is happening in our region.
“I was able to showcase what our area does best, with senior Treasury officials visiting some of the world-leading businesses and organisations that are succeeding right here. The visit also provided a great opportunity to highlight the huge opportunities that lie ahead for our area and how future Government investment could be targeted to capitalise on our strengths to boost the whole of the UK.
“I’ve always said we need to shout about our area, and I will always bang the drum for our great region. So, I thank Rishi for bringing his most senior officials to the Tees Valley so they could see first-hand the huge scale of opportunity here.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak MP, said: “We’re committed to levelling up – investing billions in world-class infrastructure to break down the barriers that have held parts of our country back for too long. That’s why last week I announced £71m funding to transform the former Teesside steelworks into a global trading centre.
“But levelling up is about more than just investment, it’s about reaching out and understanding the unique challenges each region faces. Bringing the Treasury to Teesside marks a significant step in our bid to ensure that communities in every corner of the country benefit as we unleash Britain’s potential.”
Abbas Mohimi, Business Development Manager at TWI, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Treasury to TWI’s Offshore Wind Validation Centre and highlight our work in the sector. Offshore developments represent a huge growth opportunity for the region and we are proud to be playing an important role in supporting our local businesses.”