Richard Turner, CEO JDR Cables Hartlepool, left, with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen

Tees Valley Mayor outlines his vision for the region

A new £13m fund for start-ups and getting spades into the ground of the SSI site underpin Houchen’s vision for 2018.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has outlined his ambitious vision for the year ahead as he looks to strengthen the city region and accelerate economic growth.

At the heart of the Mayor’s plans is a commitment to start work on the redevelopment of the SSI plant, which will be one of the largest regeneration projects of its kind in Europe.

Houchen has also announced plans to launch a new £13m investment fund for the region’s start-up businesses and to negotiate a second devolution deal with central government.

A plan to bring Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership will also be presented to owner Peel Airports – which has been key to the Mayor’s campaign since being elected.

Speaking about the plans, he said: “2017 was an historic year for the Tees Valley. We are now just one of six areas in the UK with a Metro Mayor, meaning we’re at the top table with the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Our voice has never been louder with other parts of the country looking to us with envy.

 “As Mayor, I have been opening doors previously closed to us to secure additional resources and supporting views for Tees Valley’s plans. We are punching above our weight and we’re starting to see the benefits.

“In the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, we were handed £123m of new money to start remediation works on the South Tees Development Corporation site in Redcar. This is the single biggest regeneration opportunity in the UK, and with this cash we can kick-start our 25-year masterplan which could lead to 20,000 jobs being created.

“Regeneration and infrastructure improvements will attract global investors who will turn the land into a thriving industrial site. I promise that in 2018, we will start seeing spades in the ground.”

He added: “My confidence in the region is shared by our fantastic local businesses. I have one simple view: if we back the innovators, the job creators, the entrepreneurs and the risk takers - everyone benefits. Indeed, the whole mindset of my team is to ask how we can improve our local economy and create a perfect environment for the private sector to grow. Part of that is ensuring we do as much as we possibly can to support companies in our area.

“2018 will herald the launch of my new access to finance investment fund for start-ups to drive business growth and expansion. I want the Tees Valley to be the easiest place in the country to finance a growing business.”

View the full announcement and the rest of the plans here: