Leaders bid to protect Tees Valley industry

Dave Budd.
Dave Budd.

The impact of Britain’s exit from the EU was being examined by Tees Valley’s political leaders today - including how they can manage the risks of potentially losing £170 million in support.

A report was due to be presented to members of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Board.

Above all, it means the Tees Valley continuing to face outward to the world, as we have throughout our economic history. We will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that funding lost as a result of the referendum is replaced

Dave Budd

It outlines some of the major effects that Brexit could have on the area including financial support, the type and level of funding and support available to business, and changes to the trading relationship with Europe.

The study looks at the ability for companies to export, fewer people from Europe moving to the area, and a fall in international students enrolling at the area’s colleges and universities.

There could be restricted access to European research programmes but there may be greater flexibility over state aid rules.

Although Brexit creates serious risks to the Tees Valley’s economy, there could be opportunities as well in the longer term. Mayor Dave Budd, Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “I and my fellow Tees Valley council leaders campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, and we remain concerned about the substantial risks to our economy and the opportunities available to our citizens.

“But we also recognise and respect the decision taken by the British people, and will now work to ensure a Brexit that works for our area.

“That means securing our exports, guaranteeing our long-term investment funding, and ensuring our people are able to compete to fill skill shortages.

“Above all, it means the Tees Valley continuing to face outward to the world, as we have throughout our economic history. We will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that funding lost as a result of the referendum is replaced.”

The report identified actions to help the Tees Valley respond to the major change in the economic and political environment. These include:

l Seeking an extension to short-term guarantees from the Government, to underpin the entirety of the Tees Valley’s £170 million programme of investment.

l Ensuring EU investment is replaced by long-term devolved funding.

l Ensuring the Tees Valley can make a prominent contribution to the UK’s industrial strategy.

l Getting access to European and international markets.

l Stepping-up support for new foreign owned companies to set up new facilities in the area.

l Working with businesses to understand what skills they need.

l And supporting colleges and Teesside and Durham Universities to continue to attract international students.