Following last week’s election, Ben Houchen has now taken up office as the Tees Valley Mayor.
Mr Houchen today signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office, with the Returning Officer David Bond and Combined Authority managing director Andrew Lewis.
He spent the day in discussions with the Tees Valley Combined Authority team, including critical issues such as the establishment of the new South Tees Development Corporation, the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport, and new opportunities for additional investment in the region.
Today also marks the point at which new legislation takes effect. The Tees Valley (Functions and Amendments) Order 2017 establishes a new statutory framework for the devolution of funding, powers and responsibilities to the area.
Tees Valley becomes one of six areas within England that benefit from these new powers, following the October 2015 devolution deal between Tees Valley leaders and government ministers.
The Mayor will act as a champion for the people of the Tees Valley, ensuring more resources are invested in the region, and a strong voice in negotiations with government.
Commenting on his new responsibilities, Mr Houchen said: “Following last week’s historic election, I am proud to accept the new office of Mayor of the Tees Valley.
“Today marks a critical point in the devolution of new powers to our area, as a result of the deal secured with government.
“I am committed to use these new powers to help to deliver a strong and prosperous future for the people of our area.
“I look forward to working closely with the local councils, business and communities across the region, building a strong coalition to secure the jobs, skills and infrastructure that our region needs for the future.”
Paul Booth, chair of the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I’d like to congratulate Ben and wish him well in his new and challenging role.
“The new Tees Valley Mayor will be an important and influential figure, helping to secure additional resources for our area, growing the economy, improving transport and infrastructure, boosting skills, and securing good quality jobs.
“The business community has shown tremendous support for the Combined Authority, and looks forward to working with Ben in the critical next phase of the Tees Valley’s journey.”