A JOBS-BOOSTING City Deal for areas of the Tees Valley, including Hartlepool, could be in place before the end of the year.
The good news prediction came from officials at the regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU).
They unveiled the prospect in their latest economic briefing for the area – and officials believe it could give towns such as Hartlepool a better chance of competing globally.
The news comes just eight months after it first emerged that the Tees Valley was likely to get 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.
A TVU spokesman said: “The Tees Valley City Deal is a positive and exciting opportunity, not just for the local area, but also the country as a whole as it enhances Tees Valley’s ability to compete on a global level.
“It is anticipated the Tees Valley City Deal will be agreed by the end of this year.”
They added: “The Tees Valley City Deal will show how Tees Valley and Government can work together to attract new investment to the area, build better transport links, train our workforce and create more jobs.”
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 Tees Valley would become a prime location for carbon capture, and could create “super sectors” for firms in petrochemicals, advanced manufacturing, and new renewable energy.
They also said 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 in a competition to win the deal, but in the end all 20 got the go-ahead. The winners will now get more devolved powers from Whitehall.
The spokesman added: “A City Deal does not make Tees Valley a city. But importantly it puts Tees Valley alongside the likes of Leeds and Manchester when working with Government, both now and in the future, to help shape the policy decisions that will affect the Tees Valley area.”
Under the deal, officials will ask Government for greater certainty on planning, financial incentives for investors and greater flexibility in using funds to help learners and the unemployed into work.