Tees Valley Mayor pledges to bring steel making back to region as he announces re-election bid

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has promised to bring steel making back to the region if he is re-elected this year.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 2:21 pm

Conservative Mr Houchen who was elected as the first Metro Mayor for the Tees Valley in 2017 said he wants to ‘right the injustice’ of the Corus and SSI closures in 2009 and 2015 that left thousands of people jobless.

Announcing his re-election campaign, he said the region is on the brink of an economic comeback and that he would deliver further investment after bringing Teesside Airport back into public ownership and securing £360million of Government funding.

Mr Houchen said: “I’m running on a record of delivery and a promise of more. Over the past three years I have tried to do all I can to repay the people of the Tees Valley who voted for me by delivering on my promises, which I have done.”

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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen during a visit to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.

Pledging to return steel making to the region he said: “This is a solemn pledge to the people of Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool to right that significant injustice.

“Teesside steel built the world and it will again. I will make it my mission to make Teesside a world leader in steel making again.”

He pointed to several locally-based companies leading the way, including Hartlepool’s Merlin Flex, which makes circuit boards for things such as fighter jet helmets and Formula 1 racing cars.

“People across the country are sitting up and listening to what we have to say,” he said.

“We have a seat at the top table, with direct access to Number 10 and key Government departments that can help the Tees Valley go further and faster to get the investment we need and deserve.”

But he said there was still more to do including breaking a defeatist attitude that the area is in decline.

“We need more better quality, well paid jobs in our region," said Mr Houchen.

“Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are on the brink of an economic renaissance and we must do all we can to capture that opportunity.”

Labour’s Jessie Joe Jacobs is the only other candidate to have announced they will run so far.