Secretary of State for Levelling Up makes Teeside his first visit

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today joined the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove MP on a tour of the region in his first visit since taking on the role following the Cabinet reshuffle.

Michael Gove MP, who became responsible for Government’s levelling-up agenda after being appointed on 15 September, headed to Darlington on the first stop of his trip, visiting Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre.

"It’s been fantastic to see how our levelling up agenda is boosting opportunity, employment and pride right across the country," said Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove MP. "Our White Paper which will be published in the coming months will help drive forward our central mission to level up every corner of the UK. This will be backed by the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will support and create jobs, boost skills and help improve the look and feel of towns and cities across the UK."

The centre, supported by £17.5million of funding by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, is leading the way in research, education and collaboration in the bioscience industry, one of the region’s most vital and growing sectors.

The town is also soon to be home to Government’s Northern Economic Campus and, over the coming years, hundreds of civil servants from some of the biggest Government departments – such as the Treasury, Department for Business and Department for International Trade – will be relocated to the town to join the existing Department for Education.

Mayor Houchen highlighted all of the opportunities available on Teesworks, the UK’s biggest Freeport, as he hosted Gove on his first visit to the 4,500-acre site. Work is currently under way to get the land investor-ready and turn Teesworks into a hotbed of clean energy, offshore and advanced manufacturing activity to create thousands of good-quality, skilled jobs of tomorrow.

The pair toured the locations of major projects being developed on the site, such as Net Zero Teesside’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage power plant, set to capture up to 10million tons of CO2 emissions each year. They also visited the site of GE Renewable Energy’s mammoth wind turbine blade manufacturing facility, which will supply the Dogger Bank wind farm and sit next to Teesworks’ new, 1km heavy-lift South Bank Quay.

"Across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool we are seeing levelling up in action and putting more money in the pockets of local workers for themselves and their families," said Mayor Houchen. "I am delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to our area barely a week after he was appointed to lead the levelling up of the UK. This just demonstrates the commitment Government has to our area as one of the major drivers of economic regeneration not just in the North, but for the whole country."

"Thanks to the Northern Economic Campus, our region will be closer to the heart of Westminster than ever before, helping Departments to understand the challenges and opportunities in regions like ours so we can set the agenda not just follow it. Not only that, but it will show local people they don’t need to leave the region to succeed in excellent civil service careers."

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