It was arguably the most generous budget in living memory for the Tees region.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a headline-grabbing speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday which reached nearly every corner of the Tees Valley.
After months of consultation, commentary and speculation, the Tees region was confirmed as one of eight freeport zones.
The chancellor said freeports – “special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business” – will be located at Teesside along with East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber region, the Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent and Thames.
The Tees region’s freeport bid covered sites across the region, including Teesport, Teesworks, Wilton International, Teesside International Airport, the Port of Middlesbrough, the Port of Hartlepool, Liberty Steel and LV Shipping.
“Future generations will look back on today and say this was the day Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool was reborn as an industrial powerhouse,” said Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen.
Darlington was revealed as the preferred location for the Treasury’s new Northern regional campus.
Tees Business sent a letter to Rishi Sunak last month – signed by 115 business leaders – urging him to locate the campus in the Tees region.
The move will see 750 Treasury jobs move to our region, giving Darlington town centre and the region a major boost.
Meanwhile, two Tees towns hit the jackpot from the government’s Towns Fund.
Thornaby and Middlesbrough were two of 45 Town Deals included in the chancellor’s budget, worth a combined £45.8m.
The cash will go towards revitalising both town centres as we emerge from the pandemic.
Even Labour’s Tees Valley mayoral candidate Jessie Joe Jacobs hailed it “a good day for Tees Valley”.
But she added: “I would have liked to have seen a much more significant and sustained investment into green, clean climate technology jobs on the Tees, and also into the tech sector to build a platform and jobs for the future.”
We’ll feature more coverage and reaction in the coming days on teesbusiness.co.uk.
There’ll also be coverage in the Spring 2021 issue of Tees Business, out at the end of March.
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