PLANS to drive growth, create jobs and secure the economic future of Tees Valley took a major step forward today as local leaders were put in pole position to transform the former SSI steelworks site.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine revealed plans would go full-steam ahead for a new Mayoral Development Corporation – the first of its kind outside of London – to drive forward regeneration and local economic growth in the Tees Valley area.
Work will start immediately to form the corporation. This will offer a vehicle for greater powers to be devolved, in areas including regeneration planning and business support, available at the new Mayor’s disposal so the area can quickly take up economic opportunities as they arise.
Since the closure of SSI in October, the Government has put in place a multi-million pound package of support for the affected local community, and tasked Lord Heseltine with encouraging investment to create new job opportunities across the Tees Valley.
He visited PD Ports today to witness the completion of a multimillion-pound project to upgrade and improve infrastructure at Teesport – located at the centre of the site that will benefit from the new Mayoral Development Corporation.
Local business leaders say the investment will play a role in the return of economic vibrancy to the area, something the new corporation will look to deliver by securing investment from the UK and overseas to bring in new jobs and businesses.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
“The closure of the SSI site has been incredibly difficult for Redcar and the wider Tees Valley and we’re determined to continue our support for the local community.
“Already, up to £80million Government funding is in place to ensure former SSI workers and local affected businesses get the support they need.
“This new Mayoral Development Corporation is the next step, putting local people who know the area best at the heart of driving regeneration and delivering new businesses and jobs for the community.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine said:
“Key to the economic future of the Tees Valley will be the regeneration of sites and securing strong business investment to create jobs for the skilled workforce affected by SSI’s closure.
“Under dynamic leadership the new Mayoral Development Corporation will provide the strategic vision to make that happen and give investors from the UK and abroad the confidence to put down roots in the Tees Valley for years to come.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:
“The work of Lord Heseltine’s taskforce is providing the catalyst to securing strong national and international investment in the Tees Valley in the wake of SSI’s closure.
“The new interim MDC Board will set a future vision for regeneration and advise on the establishment of the Mayoral Development Corporation, in order to drive forward regeneration and growth across the Tees Valley.”
Councillor Sue Jeffrey, Chair of the Tees Valley Shadow Combined Authority Councillor and Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said:
“I welcome this agreement and confirmation that government is to take responsibility for the SSI site and establish an intermediate body to ensure safety and security in the short-term.
“But it is the long-term regeneration of the area that is my main focus.
“This announcement includes proposals to fast-track the Mayoral Development Corporation agreed in our devolution deal and this is a positive step forward.
“This can’t be just about new structures and boards – we will work with government to secure the necessary powers and funding to create a viable future for the area as a whole.”
Government support for Tees Valley
The Government’s package of up to £80million support for the Tees Valley includes:
· A £16.5million Jobs and Skills Fund to help local firms employ former SSI workers or their spouses in full-time or part-time jobs for a minimum of three years;
· £16million support for firms in the SSI supply chain and wider Tees Valley impacted by the closure; and
· £1.7million to help the 50 former SSI apprentices to continue their apprenticeships with alternative employers – all of whom are now continuing their training and are being paid.
The recent devolution deal with Tees Valley councils recognised the potential for an MDC and the benefits it could bring to the area. It will now be able to start work to regenerate sites so the area can become a central part of the North East and the country’s future growth.
An advisory board will be established to provide leadership and direction to the MDC for the regeneration of sites across Tees Valley. Ministers will work with local partners to appoint members for the Board, meaning work will begin immediately to deliver a key part of the area’s recent devolution deal – with powers devolved from Westminster to the new Mayor from next year.
The Mayoral Development Corporation will be the first of its kind outside the Capital, and will follow a similar model to the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is transforming the former Olympic site in East London.
There, it has plans to deliver nearly 7,000 homes and create new business premises to support the creation of nearly 15,000 jobs.