Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the Tees region can drive the UK’s economy as the nation bids to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
North Yorkshire MP Mr Sunak was answering a question from Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, during a House of Commons session this week.
New Redcar MP Mr Young asked the Chancellor: “Can I welcome this fantastic announcement on the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and thank my Rt Hon friend for all his department is doing to support businesses in Redcar and Cleveland with CJRS and CBILS and the new Bounce Back Loans too?
“Can he reassure me and employers in my constituency that this support will be kept under review so that it reaches those businesses who need it most?”
Mr Sunak – pictured above with Tees mayor Ben Houchen before the coronavirus outbreak – replied: “Mr Speaker I can tell my Hon friend and constituency neighbour and give him exactly that reassurance and thank him for all he is doing to support his businesses and constituents at this time.
“I very much welcome the advice that he has given me, feeding back to me about what he is hearing from the ground from businesses in the North-East.
“He and I have a shared ambition to make sure that Teesside drives our economic recovery as we come out of that and I look forward to continuing those conversations with him.”
The Chancellor announced a further £70m investment into the South Tees Development Corporation in January. More than £200m has been invested into STDC by Government since 2017.
The completed scheme is projected to create 20,000 jobs at the site over the next 25 years.
There is an active consultation on freeports and continued investment in Teesside Airport, both of which open Teesside up to international commerce.
Mayor Houchen said: “We may be in unusual times but Rishi is absolutely right that here in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we are in a fantastic position to lead our economic recovery and come out of the other side stronger than ever before.
“Our compulsory purchase of the former SSI steelworks means we now have complete control over one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe.
“The vision for the 4,500-acre site is for it to become home for sectors including clean energy and offshore that will create 20,000 good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people and add £1billion per year into the local economy over 25 years.
“We are not wasting any time. We are getting on with the work that I’ve promised to everyone across the region, and in particular the former steelworkers and their families.
“That is why I have already instructed Hartlepool-based, Seymour Civil Engineering to begin clearance and preparation work as part of a multi-million contract.
“I’ve always said this redevelopment will be about creating good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people and this is just the start. It won’t just be the surrounding community that will benefit, it will be the whole of the Tees Valley and beyond.
“We already have a reputation as a centre of excellence for offshore wind and we are delivering the world’s first industrial scale use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage with the ground-breaking Net Zero Teesside project, which will create thousands of jobs.
“This is just the start of the turnaround in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. Let’s keep going and make a brighter future for all of us.”