A bid for thousands of jobs

An aerial view of Hartlepool looking towards the rest of the Tees Valley
An aerial view of Hartlepool looking towards the rest of the Tees Valley

A BID to create and protect thousands of Tees Valley jobs has been revealed.

Campaigners at Tees Valley Unlimited today sent a weighty document to the Government, pleading for the Tees Valley – including Hartlepool – to win a City Deal.

It faces 19 rival bidders, but up to 27,000 jobs could be protected in the next nine years with 12,500 jobs by 2017, and another 15,000 by 2022.

Successful bidders will be invited to negotiate a deal with the Government and the winners will get more powers from Whitehall. The Government has already hinted that the bids most likely to get the go-ahead will be those which are focused on creating economic growth and new jobs.

On the day Tees Valley’s bid (known as its Expression of Interest) was formally handed over to the Treasury, TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole said: “We believe that, in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders, we have created a compelling Expression of Interest to ensure that Tees Valley has the best possible chance of being selected for the City Deal shortlist.

“A Tees Valley City Deal would give us greater control over our economic destiny and enhance TVU’s range of strategies to attract private investment, boost skills and create jobs.”

The latest City Deal bids will be completed by November this year.

The 11-page document focuses on Tees Valley’s unique opportunity to create jobs in “green industry”.

Its highlights include:

l Tees Valley becoming a prime location for carbon capture, which could be used to extend the life of the North Sea oilfields and provide power for businesses;

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

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

TVU’s deal bid states: “By 2017 we estimate that the acceleration towards a globally significant low carbon cross sector cluster would create/safeguard some 5000 jobs. To this figure we would anticipate a further 7,500 jobs being created or safeguarded in other sectors such as logistics or service.

“As the impact grows and starts to attract further inward investment and expanded activity we would anticipate creating/safefguarding a further 10,000 jobs by 2022.”

But campaigners say the Tees Valley’s ambitious hopes for a brighter future are being hindered by the lack of “some of the tools to enable strategic investment to be fleet of foot, and address barriers to economic growth and maximise opportunities locally”.

Instead, TVU bosses say a City Deal would give them the power to make more decisions locally.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said the City Deal bid had the potential for something “really exciting” for the Tees Valley and for Hartlepool in particular.

He added: “It gives us a bit more flexibility to really go out and attract one of the big renewable companies into town.”

The Mayor believes one of the reasons why Spanish wind turbine firm Gamesa did not bring an 800-job factory to town was because campaigners had to deal with up to at least six different Government departments and we were not getting a co-ordinated response from them.

He said: “The City Deal bid should give us more freedom to make our own decisions.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “Hartlepool has a lot to offer and should provide a distinctive and attractive place to invest: the town should focus on making partnerships with neighbouring areas when it is in our economic interests to do so to ensure we becomes a destination of choice for investors and those wishing to start and grow a business.”