Keep up the great work

Stephen Catchpole from Tees Valley Unlimited
Stephen Catchpole from Tees Valley Unlimited

A REGENERATION expert has told of his pride that the Tees Valley has helped to lead the UK out of recession.

But Stephen Catchpole also warned the area’s businesses that this was not the time to ease the foot off the pedal.

Mr Catchpole, the managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited, said: “A raft of recent figures and reports have shown that the national economy has finally emerged from its worst post-war downturn.

“Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of this year taking the size of the economy 0.2 per cent above its pre-recession peak, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).”

He added: “What is even better is that Tees Valley and the rest of the North-East, have been playing an important part in this economic renaissance.

“The North-East was the fastest growing region in the country in research published in recent weeks by Lloyds Bank. Its index of activity among UK companies – where anything above 50 represents growth – showed that businesses in the region experienced the strongest expansion, with the North East achieving a record score of 64.8.

“In addition, it is well-known that we have an enviable export performance compared to the rest of the country.

He said highlights included news that the £160m biomass power plant near Seal Sands had been given the go-ahead with Stockton Council granting planning permission for the new 49MW power station.

Another was the news that Air Products, the company behind two major energy plants at Seal Sands, had launched a recruitment drive to find 50 full-time staff including senior engineers, plant operators, maintenance workers and administrators.

Mr Catchpole said: “About 800 people are working on the final construction phase of its first facility (TV1) with construction on TV2, which started earlier this year, currently supporting 120 jobs.

“While the recession has caused severe problems to our local economy, I do believe that during this tough time Tees Valley has proved attractive for inward investment and laid down a solid base for future growth.

“All those helping shape Tees Valley’s future economic prospects must ensure that the momentum in growth is maintained.”