The CBI’s director-general has said Teeside’s economy is an example of what the UK’s future economy should be, based on innovation and a modern Industrial Strategy.
Speaking at the annual CBI Teesside Dinner, held at Crathorne Hall Hotel and supported by Barclays and Teesside University, Carolyn Fairbairn called for local business to play a bigger role in education and skills development.
On Teesside’s strengths, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: “At a time when there are plenty of reasons to slow down, there’s still a fantastic spirit of ‘glass-half-full’ in the air. A real habit of asking why not rather than why, that makes this region really stand out.
“Tees Valley is starting from a position of real and proven strength. More than anywhere else in the UK, you really do have rock solid foundations.
“So many of your industries are the foundations of the UK economy on which so much else is built. 60% of the UK’s chemical exports are produced here in the Tees Valley. And today, the Tees Valley is also leading the UK when it comes to innovation.
“These great stories – of the foundation industries, of innovation, and of green energy – are a glimpse into the future of how the UK can build a stronger economy through an Industrial Strategy.
“And if there’s one place that can get this right, it’s Tees Valley.”
Speaking about the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Industrial Strategy, Carolyn said: “One new partner, and a voice that has played a major role in raising the profile of the Tees Valley, is Ben Houchen, the not-quite-so-new mayor.
“Building on strong plans already in place, Ben has had a fantastic impact in his first six months. During his time in the role, we’ve already seen some great things happen – like 1,300 new private sector jobs, £240m of private sector investment in the region and £200 million investment from the Teesside Pension Fund.
“And he’s even pledged to get protected status for a much-loved local delicacy, the Parmo. Those more familiar with the delicacy assure me that the world will soon be talking about the Teesside Parmo in the same breath as the Cumberland Sausage and Stilton cheese.
“But in all seriousness, it’s great to see the mayor helping put the Tees Valley at the centre of the government’s Industrial Strategy.
“One of the most exciting new developments is the South Tees Development Corporation and its plan to completely redevelop Redcar over the next 25 years helping to create 20,000 jobs and add an extra £1bn a year to the Tees Valley economy.”