A major new project - to strengthen the Tees Valley and create 25,000 new jobs - has been launched by Lord Michael Heseltine.
The new Strategic Economic Plan puts the region at the centre of a new approach to industrial strategy.
Lord Heseltine was joined by 250 business leaders, and the leaders of the five councils, to reaffirm commitment to the economic growth of the Tees Valley.
They heard how the area already had a £12.3 billion economy and world class expertise in chemicals, energy, health innovation and advanced manufacturing.
But the new Industrial Strategy sets out bold plans to create 25,000 additional jobs, by building on strengths, improving skills and infrastructure, and supporting business growth.
Key priorities include attracting new business, creating centres of innovation and technology, increasing the number of graduate opportunities and vocational training, creating vibrant town centres, expanding the quality and number of new homes, and improving road, rail and bus services.
Lord Heseltine said Tees Valley businesses were buoyant with 4,000 more people in work than a year ago.
“We’re determined to build the Northern Powerhouse and this Plan will help make sure the extra £450million the area will benefit from – thanks to their historic devolution deal – will be spent on projects boosting growth right across region.”
Dave Budd, Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority, said the plan “demonstrates our determination to continue to transform our economy, accept devolved responsibilities, and set a new industrial strategy to attract investment and create good quality jobs.”