The government has appointed Lord Michael Heseltine to chair a new inward investment programme for the Tees Valley, following the closure of the SSI steelworks in Redcar.
This Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative will work to boost growth and create jobs across the region, supporting existing local plans. It will have a specific remit to attract foreign investment and boost the region’s international profile.
Lord Heseltine will be in the region on Monday (16 November 2015) with Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton. Together, they will meet the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, and the regional director for UK Trade and Investment.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
The closure of the SSI steelworks plant was a huge blow to local people. On top of the up to £80 million package of direct support, we are determined to do all we can to secure long-term growth for the area and people of Tees Valley.
Michael has a record of getting things done. He has a wealth of experience of working closely with local communities, business acumen and passion for investment and regeneration, and it’s a real coup he’s agreed to take on this job.
Lord Heseltine said:
It is a great honour to be asked to help with the government response to the sad events in the steel industry in Teesside. I look forward to joining James Wharton, the local MP and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, in Tees Valley to meet those engaged in a number of local initiatives and determine how I can support their activities.
In this new role, Lord Heseltine will work closely with UK Trade and Investment, the Tees Valley Unlimited LEP and the local Redcar SSI Taskforce to oversee negotiations with potential investors, maximise these opportunities and speed up their delivery.
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:
The closure of SSI has been extremely difficult for the local community, in Redcar and in the wider Tees Valley.
So I’m pleased to be working with Lord Heseltine, who will bring his wealth of experience to bear to attract investment opportunities and new jobs for local people.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine is currently an adviser to the government on local growth following his 2013 report ‘No Stone Unturned’.
Lord Heseltine’s appointment as chair of the Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative follows the recent signing of an historic agreement to devolve power from Whitehall to the Tees Valley.
- a new investment fund of £15 million a year over the next 30 years
- the power, if they have the support of the business community, to raise business rates to help fund new infrastructure
- responsibility for a devolved approach to business support from 2017, to be developed in partnership with government
Voters will choose a directly-elected Mayor in 2017, who will take on a raft of new powers.
This follows a package of government support of up to £80 million, including funding for affected SSI workers to train at local further education colleges, tailored support through JobCentre Plus offices and finance to assist workers if they want to start their own businesses.
Notes to editors:
More about the government’s package of support worth up to £80 million for Redcar.
The devolution deal with Tees Valley was announced on 23 October 2015.
Lord Heseltine is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Industry. He is currently based at the Department for Communities and Local Government as a government adviser on local growth to Communities Secretary Greg Clark, and was the author of ‘No Stone Unturned: in the pursuit of growth’, which gave recommendations for strengthening local economic growth.