The Tees Valley’s political leaders are looking to the future following the EU referendum – identifying opportunities and avoiding the risks as UK moves towards exiting the European Union.
A report recently went to the Tees Valley Combined Authority Board on the impact of Britain leaving the EU including:
- • Managing the risks of losing up to £170 million of financial support currently received from the EU.
- • Changes to the type and level of funding and support available to business.
- • Changes to the trading relationship with Europe and ability for companies to export.
- • A reduction in the number of people from Europe moving to the area.
- • Fewer international students enrolling at the area’s colleges and universities.
- • Restricted access to European research programmes.
- • Changes to the regulatory regime, including the possibility of greater flexibility over state aid rules.
Although the prospect of Brexit creates a number of serious risks to the Tees Valley’s economy, the Combined Authority is also looking to concentrate on the opportunities it could present over the longer term.
The report also identified a number of actions which will help the Tees Valley to respond to this major change in our economic and political environment. These include:
- • Seeking an extension of the short-term guarantees which the Government has recently provided, to underpin the entirety of the Tees Valley’s £170 million programme of investment.
- • Ensuring EU investment is replaced by long-term devolved funding, invested through local decision-making to meet the needs of the Tees Valley.
- • Ensuring that the Tees Valley is able to make a prominent contribuition to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.
- • Securing access to European and International Markets for the Tees Valley’s export-orientated growth sectors.
- • Stepping-up support for new foreign owned companies to set up new facilities in the area, key sectors where Tees Valley has world-leading capability.
- • Work with businesses based in the area to understand what skills they need, and supporting people across the Tees Valley to access those skills.
- • Supporting local colleges and Teesside and Durham Universities to continue to attract international students, and to participate in international research collaborations.
Mayor Dave Budd, Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “I and my fellow Tees Valley council leaders campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, and we remain concerned about the substantial risks to our economy and the opportunities available to our citizens.
“But we also recognise and respect the decision taken by the British people, and will now work to ensure a Brexit that works for our area. That means securing our exports, guaranteeing our long-term investment funding, and ensuring our people are able to compete to fill skill shortages.
“Above all, it means the Tees Valley continuing to face outward to the world, as we have throughout our economic history. We will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that funding lost as a result of the referendum is replaced.”
Tees Valley Combined Authority is the body that drives economic growth and job creation in the area. It focuses on economic development, transport, infrastructure and skills.
The Combined Authority harnesses the economy-boosting powers of Tees Valley’s five local councils (Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Darlington) and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership to elevate partnership working between the public and private sector to create an even more effective approach to building a stronger Tees Valley.