Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, has written to the Prime Minister to ask her to provide ‘more certainty’ on Teesside’s future and to commit funds to the region.
The letter follows several media reports that Mrs May may be planning to block the introduction of city-region mayors, including the Mayor for the Tees Valley.
The elected mayor was intended to lead on various aspects of a regional strategy for Teesside economy, including those recommended by Lord Heseltine’s Tees Valley Opportunity Unlimited Report. In particular, the letter references the regeneration of the former SSI steelworks site at Redcar. The mayor was expected to lead a ‘Mayoral Development Corporation’ tasked with the regeneration of the site.
“The Prime Minister has up until this point added to uncertainties over Teesside’s future. The reports that she is considering scrapping plans to introduce a Mayor for the Tees Valley means that the future of the development strategy for our region and regeneration of the former SSI site are in doubt.
“As well as that, Theresa May’s mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ hasn’t actually clarified what our future relationship with the EU will look like. Whether the UK will remain a part of the single market and comply with EU industry standards will have a massive knock-on effect for businesses in Teesside. We need certainty to attract investment and protect jobs in our region.
“I worry that prolonged uncertainty about the mayor and Brexit will damage our economy here in the Tees Valley. I have asked for the PM to commit to supplying the funding our region previously got from the EU, and to immediately clarify her position on the introduction of city-region mayors.”