The Tees Valley has submitted ambitious proposals for devolution to the Government today (Friday, 4th September).
The Tees Valley Powerhouse plan builds on the effective work of the five local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership, Tees Valley Unlimited. It asks for a greater number of powers to be devolved to the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which relate to transport, education, skills and employment, economic growth and business support and investment.
The area already has a proven track record of successful partnership working to secure investment including the City Deal and the Tees Valley’s Strategic Economic plan.
The devolution deal would bring increased jobs to the area, at a quicker pace, across a range of industries and ensure that local people have the skills to take up these new jobs. There would be improved road and rail links, enabling people to travel to work and attracting investors to the area. The Tees Valley would play a crucial role in the Northern Powerhouse and make a bigger contribution to the UK’s economy.
Chair of the Shadow Combined Authority for the Tees Valley and Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor Sue Jeffrey said: “These proposals present an exciting opportunity for the Tees Valley to be at the forefront of the Northern Powerhouse. We have put a robust deal before Government, which would enable us to improve our road and rail networks, generate economic growth, stimulate housing development and create opportunities for local people. We know that we are best placed to understand what the challenges are for the Tees Valley, and what we need to put in place to accelerate and unlock sustainable growth which will benefit our businesses and our people in the long term.”
Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council said "Tees Valley is a functional economic area in its own right, distinct from other areas and other economies. We have always been an area of significant innovation and will continue to build upon these strengths. Devolution will give us the opportunity deal directly with the issues that matter to us, to our residents and to our businesses to help us prosper."
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the Leader of Hartlepool Council, said: "The five Tees Valley councils have an excellent track of working together and delivering successfully when we have been given the opportunity to do so.
"Devolution presents an excellent opportunity to build on what we have achieved already and enable us to have much greater influence over key areas such as job creation, the economic development and transport which are all so vital to the area's future prosperity."
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “Devolution has the potential to make a real difference across the Tees area, with improvements to infrastructure and transport links helping to drive job creation and lay the foundations of a sound economy.
“We have already shown what can be achieved by working closely together, and a successful bid will help to ensure we can compete on equal terms with city regions both in this country and further afield.”
Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “The Tees Valley is a great place to live and work and through devolved powers we can further improve the fantastic work we already do to attract further business, investment and create jobs.
“We have a very clear and ambitious vision for the region’s future growth and more localised decision-making and control would help us successfully and swiftly implement it.”