Jobs-boosting proposals for region to become international centre of green economy

TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat (right) with UNISON Regional Secretary Clare Williams (left), and TUC General Secretary Frances OGrady
TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat (right) with UNISON Regional Secretary Clare Williams (left), and TUC General Secretary Frances OGrady

The Tees Valley could become a major centre for high-tech green industries and renewable energy according to a new report.

An industrial strategy for the area by Newcastle University puts forward a number of recommendations on how to deliver well paid jobs and become a national and international centre for low carbon industries.

The study, commissioned by the Trades Union Council, says the region can build on existing nationally important industries like chemicals, specialist expertise in areas of healthcare, and a growing new digital creative sector.

Beth Farhat, TUC Regional Secretary for Northern England, said: “With a proper plan for local industry, we can deliver more great jobs in Tees Valley.

“But we need central government to get behind these ideas with investment for the region. And workers need more of a say in shaping the local economy.”

The former Graythorpe shipyard in Hartlepool, now Able Seaton Port, where Able UK is dismantling the massive Shell Brent Delta platform, is highlighted in as an example of where Tees Valley can gain a competitive advantage over other places.

Investment by JDR Cables is also singled out as important for Tees Valley’s position as a major centre for the UK offshore wind industry.

Recommendations of the study include a partnership body for unions, employers and government to work together on improving pay, productivity and the quality of jobs.

Others are for a Tees Valley Wealth Fund to stimulate new investment, Government investment in renewable and green industries, and full devolution of adult education to help give workers the skills they will.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill welcomed the report and said Hartlepool was in a ‘prime position’ to build on its role in recent low carbon initiatives.

He said: “This important report quite rightly identifies Hartlepool and the rest of the Tees Valley as an ideal platform for growth in emerging and cutting edge industries.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, said: “This report makes a number of important observations on the future economy of Tees Valley.

“I welcome its focus on Carbon Capture and Storage technology. I have set out my ambition to make Tees Valley the go-to area for clean industrial development and Teesside Collective and its members are making amazing progress.

“There is no silver bullet future prosperity of Tees Valley, progress relies on us succeeding as a region in a number of different areas, including being able to participate in and shape the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”