Today (12th January 2017) in the House of Commons Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, called on the Government to “press hard on the cash accelerator” to bring forward large scale highway projects to capitalise on recent developments at the Teesport complex.
“On Monday we heard the news of a large scale reappraisal by the retail giant Tesco of their distribution network across the UK. Central to that announcement was the news that Tesco are now committed to expanding their existing depot and warehouse hub at Teesport as the centre for their non-food storage and distribution, creating 50 new jobs with the prospects of more as this develops.
“This is a mark of confidence by Britain’s biggest retailer in the Teesside economy and the skills and experience of their Teesside workforce.
“But to gain the most value for this development and to allow for yet more expansion at Teesport, I today called on Transport Ministers to accelerate the programme for improvements to the A66 and for a new Tees Crossing to allow firms like Tesco to get their goods out on the road and on time for their customers more quickly and readily. Plans for both programmes are already being worked up by the Tees Valley Combined Authority which is made up of all the Tees Valley councils, and the speeding up of this programme and an indication that cash can be on the table will be seen by private sector investors like Tesco as proof that Teesside can be their distribution hub for years to come.
“The reply from Junior Transport Minister Andrew Jones was helpful in that he recognized the importance of these schemes and he reiterated that the government would help the Combined Authority to develop the business case for this infrastructure investment – but crucially he would not commit the Government to a promise that the actual capital funding would be on the table at the end of the study period. This promise is urgently needed, otherwise firms like Tesco may conclude that whilst the local authorities of Teesside are working flat out to develop these improvements, the uncertainty from central Government might hinder their own expansion plans.”