Mayor talks with the Chancellor over transport plans

Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Mayor.
Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Mayor.

Transport plans for the region were on the agenda when the Tees Valley Mayor met with the Chancellor.

Ben Houchen, said he had a ‘very productive’ meeting with Chancellor Philip Hammond about ways to boost growth across the Northern Powerhouse region.

The chancellor made it absolutely clear to me that he remains committed to the electrification of the TransPennine Express line

Ben Houchen

Ambitious plans to improve road connectivity across the Tees Valley and the wider region were one of the items discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

Mr Houchen said: “The chancellor made it absolutely clear to me that he remains committed to the electrification of the TransPennine Express line. This is in addition to a much wider £1billion fund that will be spent improving rail infrastructure across the North over the next few years.

“I also pushed for cash to fund my road investment strategy, which includes a new Tees Crossing, A66 improvements and a much-needed bypass for Darlington.”

It comes as the Tees Valley has won backing for youth clubs and youth support services after winning a share of £40million in Government and lottery funding aimed at helping over 300,000 disadvantaged children across the country.

The Youth Investment Fund will be shared between 86 youth trusts across six disadvantaged areas in England, to help young people gain confidence and work skills.

Youth organisations in Tees Valley, along with East London, Liverpool City Region, the West Midlands, Sunderland and Bristol and Somerset, will receive the money over the next three years.

It will also be used to create new youth clubs in rural areas and to expand sports projects to get young people active.

Minister for Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, said: “This investment from the Government and National Lottery players will have a transformational effect on the lives of some of our most disadvantaged young people.

“It will help thousands who might otherwise have gone under the radar flourish. Local voluntary and community youth organisations already do so much fantastic work and this £40million will enrich the lives of many more young people throughout England.”

Research by Unison revealed youth services lost at least £60million in funding between 2012 and 2014.