The Government has appointed Lord Michael Heseltine to chair a new inward investment programme for the Tees Valley.
The Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative will work to boost growth and create jobs across the region, supporting existing local plans. It will have a specific remit to attract foreign investment and boost the region’s international profile.
Lord Heseltine will be in the region on Monday with Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton. Together, they will meet representatives of the Local Enterprise Partnership Tees valley Unlimited as well as the leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, and the regional director for UK Trade & Investment.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Michael has a record of getting things done. He has a wealth of experience of working closely with local communities, business acumen and passion for investment and regeneration, and it’s a real coup he’s agreed to take on this job.”
Lord Heseltine said: “It is a great honour to be asked to help with the Government response to the sad events in the steel industry in Teesside.”
He will work closely with UK Trade and Investment, the Tees Valley Unlimited LEP and the local Redcar SSI Taskforce to oversee negotiations with potential investors, maximise these opportunities and speed up their delivery.
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said: “The closure of SSI has been extremely difficult for the local community, in Redcar and in the wider Tees Valley.
“So I’m pleased to be working with Lord Heseltine, who will bring his wealth of experience to bear to attract investment opportunities and new jobs for local people.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine is currently an adviser to the Government on Local Growth following his 2013 report ‘No Stone Unturned’.
Lord Heseltine’s appointment as chair of the Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative follows the recent signing of an historic agreement to devolve power from Whitehall to the Tees Valley.
l A new Investment Fund of £15m a year over the next 30 years;
l The power, if they have the support of the business community, to raise business rates to help fund new infrastructure; and
l Responsibility for a devolved approach to business support from 2017, to be developed in partnership with Government.
Voters will choose a directly-elected Mayor in 2017, who will take on a raft of new powers.
This follows a package of Government support of up to £80m, including funding for affected SSI workers to train at local further education colleges, tailored support through JobCentre Plus offices and finance to assist workers if they want to start their own businesses.