A good day for the Tees Valley- but it must just be the start

The budget was announced today and there were some head-line moments that put the Tees Valley right at the heart of the national debate. That's great - but it is just the start.

Here's a few quick thoughts on the measures announced for the Tees and how we can use them as a platform to build on to make a our region ready to face the future.

On the Treasury jobs to Darlington It is good day for the Tees Valley. I and many of us campaigned for Treasury jobs to come to one of our town centres. I was worried the Tees Mayor seemed to be only pushing the airport site. So this is great news that government are backing Darlington and one of our brilliant town centres.

It will also put the potential of the Tees firmly in the sight and thinking of Government, ensuring we get future investments. And if we don’t, it also means I won’t have far to go to knock heads together. On the Free Port I welcome anything that brings jobs and investment to the Tees. The UK have had FreePorts before and they are not quite the silver bullet for jobs we are being promised as they tend to move jobs rather than create new ones. They can also be ripe for exploitation, trafficking and workers rights abuses so we need some strong assurances and protections. But if it means investment in the Tees then we need to find a way to ensure they work. The job now is to get the new, secure and skilled jobs with good wages and conditions. That is what we desperately need here. The incentives for business to come here are important though and we must make sure we take the opportunity to build an economy fit for the future. On a greener digital future 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. A massive climate crisis is looming and we need action now to rebalance the economy, safeguard jobs for our children and to protect the planet. That would guarantee work for generations to come and would be the real big kick-start in our local economy we need.

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