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Tees Valley steps up City Deal bid

Friday 11 January 2013 5:00

Tees Valley’s bid to take part in a major government programme that could give the area increased economic power and brighter private investment prospects has moved a step closer today.

For local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) has published the first phase of its case to receive the Government’s City Deal status.

The Expression of Interest by TVU will be formally submitted to Government next week and sets out the area’s economic landscape and highlights the positive impact City Deal status would have.

The first wave of City Deals were signed off in July and included Newcastle among the UK’s eight largest cities. If successful as part of the latest round of City Deals, Tees Valley could see some decision-making processes devolved from Whitehall, giving the region greater powers to invest in economic growth.

TVU’s MD Stephen Catchpole said: “We believe that, in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders, we have created a compelling expression of interest to ensure that Tees Valley has the best possible chance of being selected for the City Deal shortlist.

“A Tees Valley City Deal would give us greater control over our economic destiny and enhance TVU’s range of strategies to attract private investment, boost skills and create jobs.”

TVU’s Expression of Interest outlines how a City Deal would give it the ability to promote prosperity for the area and suggests possible targets for elements such as job creation and safeguarding, increased apprenticeships, increased exports and greater private sector investment.

All these targets will be subject to detailed negotiations with the Government following selection for the shortlist.

Mr Catchpole added: “There are numerous untapped opportunities within this area that a City Deal would allow us to harness and develop for the economic good of Tees Valley.

“It would give us greater control locally to exploit our strengths and tackle our barriers to growth and most importantly put into action the Tees Valley strategic plans that match the bold ambitions of this area.”

The proposals are backed by Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton Councils, the University of Teesside and the LEP’s private sector board members, including representatives from Sabic and PD Ports.

The Expression of Interest has also been endorsed by organisations including the North East Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Business, EEF - the manufacturers' organisation, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Sarah Green, Director of CBI North East, said: “CBI North East believes that the Tees Valley Unlimited City Deal submission represents an ambitious but deliverable proposal capable of providing a significant stimulus to private sector growth in the area.

“Tees Valley contains a number of high-growth industries with strong potential to increase employment in skilled, sustainable private sector jobs. As the City Deal proposal outlines, building on the existing strengths of the chemical, advanced manufacturing and low-carbon sectors, particularly with regard to improving export performance, is vital to the region and to the North East as a whole.

“By devolving more decision making and spending powers to the local level, CBI North East believes this City Deal will ensure that resources aimed at stimulating growth and creating jobs are deployed in the most effective and efficient manner possible.”

A total of 20 areas have been invited to submit an expression on interest, but not all will be awarded a deal.

A competitive stage will be followed by the announcement of a shortlist expected in Spring 2013. Individual City Deals will then be negotiated with final proposals agreed by November 2013.