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Heseltine to report on future of Tees Valley.

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor @jonwalker121

AGLOBAL industrial powerhouse can rise from the ashes of the troubled Tees Valley. That's the view of Lord Heseltine, who will today set out his ambitious vision for the area.

The former Deputy Prime Minister will outline plans that could see Tees Valley transformed into a world leader in advanced manufacturing, energy, chemicals and processing, digital businesses and logistics.

They are included in an independent report which the Conservative peer will present to a range of local civic and business leaders today.

Lord Heseltine was commissioned by Business Secretary Sajid Javid to hold an inquiry into the future of the Tees Valley economy following the closure of the SSI Redcar steel plant.

But Lord Heseltine says in his report that, even after the plant's closure, the outlook for Tees Valley is far less gloomy than sometimes portrayed.

The report says: "It is clear that the economic picture in the Tees Valley is altogether more positive than perceptions drawn from the media.

"The industrial base is more diverse than generally reported and there is a higher level of opportunities both for individuals and for businesses."

However, the report does warn that the government must do more to back Tees Valley - and says that offi-cials should be stationed permanently in the region to work with the planned new Tees Valley mayor, who will be elected next year.

The report says: "There is a strong case for government to increase its direct support to growing the Tees Valley economy by establishing a permanent base in the area with senior leadership - and ensuring that those involved have real decision making capability, accountable to both the new mayor and ministers."

Lord Heseltine is not a member of the government, but advises Mr Javid and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark on regional economic regeneration and devolution.

Lord Heseltine's other proposals include: ? Establishing a planned South Tees Development Corporation promptly ? Combining all business advice and support - currently offered by several local bodies - into one service ? The Tees Valley Combined Authority becoming the source for ambitious, visible and determined leadership to transform education and skills across the Tees Valley ? The government to investigate extending the electrification of the Transpennine line, which has already been confirmed, to include the Northallerton-to-Teesport line.

Coun Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council said: "His findings confirm that our economic foundations are sound, our local capacity is strong and our plans for future success are well-drawn."


Lord Michael Heseltine Emily Barber

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2016
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