Regeneration experts plan major scheme to get Hartlepool firms bigger contracts

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REGENERATION experts are planning a major scheme to help Tees Valley companies bid for bigger contracts.

Campaigners say firms in areas such as Hartlepool have the expertise and the skills base to handle bigger orders.

They even manage to get to the shortlist stages when they submit tenders for work.

But they are being held back by the lack of collateral needed to clinch the deals.

However, the jobs-boosting Tees Valley Catalyst Fund could solve that.

It is a project created by Tees Valley Unlimited and is just one example of how TVU has supported schemes in the region.

Bosses at Tees Valley Unlimited have highlighted it as a way of showing the need for more investment in the area – and more devolved power.

They hope for more of the same with the support of the Hartlepool Mail-backed NEvolution campaign which calls for the Government to give more responsibility to the North East, especially in areas such as transport, skills and funding.

So far, TVU has helped bring in more than £57m in infrastructure schemes for the area since 2011.

That includes:

• Plans for upgrades to major junctions such as the A19-A689 interchange at Wolviston, to widen the carriageway and provide greater capacity for rush hour traffic.

• Improvements to passenger facilities at 16 railway stations including Hartlepool.

• A £42m boost for 19 business schemes through the Regional Growth Fund which should help to generate £268m of private sector investment.

TVU chiefs are also planning the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund for firms wanting to put bid for larger projects.

Bosses say companies in areas such as Hartlepool are often shortlisted on tenders – but they dont have access to the sufficient cash reserves to set up the required bond facility.

But the Tees Valley Catalyst Fund will solve that by providing the cash collateral that businesses need.

TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole said: “We want to help companies to fund performance bonds to enable them to bid for higher value contracts which will enable them to take on more employees.”

Meanwhile, the NEvolution campaign has already attracted support on Twitter.

Hartlepool councillor Jonathan Brash ‏tweeted “Totally support #NEvolution campaign to bring more powers to our region. London-centric politics hurts our interests.”

Hartlepool Borough Council tweeted: “We’re backing NEvolution, a campaign championing the North-East ahead of this month’s spending review #TheNEvolution.”

And the Northern TUC tweeted: “We support the excllent NEvolution campaign to give the North East greater powers over its economic future:”