A done Deal for Tees Valley

JUBILANT regeneration chiefs were celebrating after the Tees Valley won its bid for a jobs-boosting City Deal.

The Tees Valley – including Hartlepool – has clinched the deal which could see 27,000 jobs protected or created in the area in the next nine years.

Experts predict it could be just the tool they needed to boost industry and promote growth.

The news brought joyous reaction from Stephen Catchpole, the managing director of the regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), which led the bid.

He said it was “a real opportunity for local decision making to unlock local potential and is a clear indication from Government that TVU’s ambitions and objectives for Tees Valley can deliver the growth, investment and jobs that are required.”

To qualify for the deal, TVU bosses submitted an 11-page Expression of Interest document in January.

They told how they would develop the area if they got the Government’s backing.

They said:

l Tees Valley would become a prime location for carbon capture, to extend the life of the North Sea oilfields and provide power for businesses;

l Tees Valley could create “super sectors” for firms in petrochemicals, advanced manufacturing, and new renewable energy;

l And the Tees Valley could become the home to large waste-to-energy plants to create energy, fuel for cars, and chemicals that are the “building blocks” of everyday products such as plastics, paint and textiles.

They were up against 19 rivals, but in the end all 20 got the go-ahead.

The winners will now get more devolved powers from Whitehall.

But Mr Catchpole told how the hard work starts now to hammer out the specifics for the Tees Valley agreement.

“Over the coming months we will take part in discussions with Government to agree the tools and resources they will devolve to enable us to support our existing industries and grow our emerging sectors.”

And he said City Deal success would not be the only tool used to promote growth in areas such as Hartlepool.

“The City Deal complements successes with Regional Growth Fund and across the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone and further boosts Tees Valley Unlimited’s capacity to deliver a strong and sustainable economy for the people who live, work and look to invest here.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said the economic importance of other parts of the country outside London had been “devastatingly downplayed” over the years, adding: “Rather than let our industries and communities wither, we need to free up cities outside of London that have their own unique selling points.”

The 20 successful bidders are: the Black Country, Bournemouth and Poole, Brighton and Hove, Greater Cambridge, Coventry and Warwickshire, Hull and Humber, Ipswich, Leicester and Leicestershire, Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands, Greater Norwich, Oxford and Oxfordshire, Reading and Central Berkshire, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Portsmouth, Southend and Thames Gateway South Essex, Stoke and Staffordshire, Sunderland and the North East, Swindon and Wiltshire, and Tees Valley.