The five Leaders of the Tees Valley’s Local Authorities have welcomed a £588million Combined Authority Investment Plan which will transform the economy and the lives of people across the region.
The Leaders and the Tees Valley Mayor yesterday unanimously approved the plan which sets out how the Tees Valley Combined Authority will invest money to grow the economy by £1.48billion and create 16,785 jobs over the next ten years.
The investment plan, which supports the delivery of the Combined Authority’s Strategic Economic Plan published in March 2017, includes £20million for a major transformational project based in each of the five Local Authority boroughs, and an Indigenous Growth Fund of £50million to improve and revitalise towns and communities.
And it approves the Combined Authority’s purchase, from Peel Holdings Limited, of 89% shareholding in Teesside International Airport and an adjacent piece of land with planning permission for 350 homes for a total of £40million.
It sets out how our economy will be transformed through major investments across six key themes including: transport; education, employment and skills; business growth; culture and tourism; research, development and innovation; investment in our towns and communities.
Business growth – £146million
Cllr Sue Jeffrey, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Investment and Business Growth, said: “This Investment Plan is not just about cold, hard cash. It is about changing the future of Tees Valley, our economy, and improving the lives of the people who live here.
“This plan lays out the funding needed to create the jobs our residents need. It will support projects to attract and grow new businesses, as well as making sure we create an environment that encourages inward investment and gives start-ups and existing companies of all sizes the backing they need.
“We have outlined strategic priorities that we will target with investment, such as Stockton’s Northshore, Middlesbrough’s Boho and Revitalising Redcar, which will be critical to our plans. We have also earmarked £116.5million to unlock sites for business, including land on the South Tees Development Corporation.
“We are expecting to create 4,400 new jobs from business growth alone. Working across key sectors, this plan is not only good for businesses, but it will be good for those we’re really working to help – the people of our region – by driving new, accessible jobs and creating a fantastic place to invest, work and live.”
Transport – £257million
Cllr Stephen Harker, Deputy Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “An integrated, reliable, fast and safe transport infrastructure is central to have Tees Valley truly reach its potential.
“We have made a lot of progress already but this plan helps us unlock even more funding for road, rail and air schemes to keep residents and freight moving. On the roads, we’ve agreed funding for preparation work for new Tees crossings, the Darlington bypass and improved connectivity along the A66 from A1(M) to Teesport, along with the previously announced funding for Hartlepool’s Western Growth Corridor.
“There will be investment to transform our key stations, Darlington and Middlesbrough, as well as cash to begin extending the TransPennine train service to Saltburn and for the study into upgrading the line into Teesport. We’ll also consider further schemes to improve accessibility to stations including Eaglescliffe, Nunthorpe Parkway, Hartlepool, Redcar Central and Billingham and upgrades to more.
“We know that, for some, public transport isn’t the answer to getting around. So the plan includes personalised travel support initiatives to ensure that jobs, wherever they are in Tees Valley, are available to all residents.
“One of the biggest transport projects included in the Plan is to bring Teesside International Airport back into public ownership and increase its user numbers tenfold. The entire Combined Authority Cabinet is committed to seeing it succeed and we look forward to delivering a thriving regional airport that will be an asset to be proud of.
“Top quality transport connections will help people to work, businesses to grow and visitors to discover what this wonderful region has to offer and with this Investment Plan, we’re on track to deliver just that.”
Education, employment and skills – £55million
Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “Helping people of all ages to learn, reach their potential and be given all the skills needed to get the jobs we’re creating is incredibly important.
“Our education, employment and skills investment takes in a wide range of areas for our learners, providers and businesses. Everything from skills for teachers and business challenge to technical education and addressing long-term unemployment.
“Our investment will, among other things, support education innovation and collaboration, develop a skills system for business growth, support careers and enterprise activity and those who want to take on or become apprentices.
“We have set cash aside to help fund the Northern School of Art Middlesbrough relocation and phase two of Hartlepool’s Innovation and Skills Quarter to train, attract and retain people in the creative industries and become a thriving area of excellence in the sector.
“On top of this, we expect £290million over ten years following the devolution of our adult education budget, now that we have taken responsibility for post-19 education. This will help us better target and deliver quality adult education to those who need it most.”
Culture and tourism – £60million
Mayor Dave Budd, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, said: “We are one of the UK’s growing visitor destinations and big-name announcements like concerts by Take That and Jess Glynne alongside world-class sporting events such as the Great North CityGames and our Rugby League World Cup 2021 bid show we’re already punching above our weight.
“We can’t slow down in our bid to become City of Culture 2025 and the Investment Plan gives financial support to develop our ambition, as well as funding key activities, events and Hartlepool Waterfront and the Stockton and Darlington Railway Heritage Programme.
“Even just preparing for this bid will change Tees Valley for the better in the long term, with culture partners working closer than ever to attract new visitors to the region, boosting the tourist pound that many local shops, restaurants and businesses need to survive and spreading the word that we’re an exceptional destination.”
Research, innovation and development – £20million
Mayor Dave Budd, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Innovation, said: “Building a greener economy is a priority for Government and we’re perfectly placed to capitalise on our skills, rich history and infrastructure to make sure we’re leading the way in industrial innovation and reducing carbon emissions.
“Our Investment Plan recognises our strengths in the advanced manufacturing, process and energy, healthcare and digital spheres. By focusing on energy production, storage and efficiency, carbon reduction, support for our supply chains and making this innovation commercialised, we can create the jobs of tomorrow and make sure these high-quality roles stay in the Tees Valley for years to come.”
Place (towns and communities) – £50million
Cllr Bob Cook, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “We have five fantastic, diverse boroughs and we can’t lose sight of what makes each of our towns great.
“It’s great we’re investing £100million into transformative strategic projects across the five boroughs that will pay off for years to come. But to directly improve the day-to-day lives of the people of Tees Valley, as well as keep our home-grown talent in the area and encourage businesses to set up here, we need to look to more local schemes.
“That’s why, outside of all of our other investment, we have agreed an Indigenous Growth Programme of £50million, which will make up to £2million per year available for each of our five boroughs, for an initial five-year period.
“This cash will be used for vital activity which will have an immediate local impact but, together, will make Tees Valley a vibrant and welcoming place for all.”