The Tees Valley is strong and it is getting stronger.
That’s the message from Paul Booth, the chairman of the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, who said the future is looking good – especially if fledgling industry could be helped to grow.
Mr Booth said devastating blows such as the closure of SSI need not mean doom and gloom.
The area, he said, is already an important contributor to the success of the UK economy.
Determination and a steely desire to succeed was a big part of Tees Valley’s future.
He added: “I believe that, due to this resilience, the underlying nature of our Tees Valley economy is strong and improving.
“The ability to nurture new fledgling industries so that they grow to become both major suppliers of jobs and competitive on a global scale is as important today as it has ever been.”
Mr Booth added: “To harness this potential and produce real commercial benefit we must ensure that we focus on what we need to do to make it happen.
“Securing investment to enhance our key assets and sectors, improve our road and rail connectivity particularly for freight and play our full part in making the wider north a much more prosperous region sit at the heart of TVU’s priorities.”
The future, he said, lay with key industries in advanced manufacturing, process, low carbon and energy, subsea and digital. “Attracting operations that will create new products and processes will act as a cornerstone in our drive for more highly-paid jobs in our economy.”
He said one example was Calysta’s plans to build a biotechnology plant in the Tees Valley – the largest of its kind in the UK.
He added: “The combination of the right site backed by the right research and development expertise at Wilton together with access to a highly skilled workforce proved to be a winning combination sufficient to attract Calysta.
“So, despite the disappointments of the second half of 2015, I am confident that Tees Valley has the attributes to play a major role in the renaissance of the North and a much brighter future for itself.”