TEESSIDE'S Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has brought thousands of jobs and over £367m in business growth funding to an area stretching from Darlington to the coast.
Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), has unveiled a round-up of its achievements to date after it was announced as one of the government’s first enterprise zones back in April 2011.
Since then, TVU has directly supported projects to secure over £367m in capital expenditure to the Tees Valley.
A total of £16m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) finance has so far been released into the area, leveraging in an additional £153.9m capital expenditure and securing 2,411 jobs.
Tees Valley Unlimited’s leadership board chairman, Sandy Anderson, has credited its progress to the strong partnerships forged with local organisations.
He said: “The progress that has been made would not have been possible without the support of our partners, particularly the five local authorities.
“This collaborative working with the support of stakeholders across the private, public and voluntary sectors in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton has been the bedrock of our success so far.
“We are committed to further widening and improving the relationships we have with businesses, government and partner organisations to increase our ability to remove barriers and encourage economic growth.”
The new Stockton-based Nifco factory, taking the company into the electric vehicle battery market, was one of two completed RGF projects in 2012, including a workforce development scheme at SSI Redcar.
Both schemes involved the safeguarding of more than 1,200 jobs.
Five RGF projects are under way at AV Dawson, Lotte Chemical UK, Cummins, Hunstman Tioxide and Darchem, which will create or safeguard another 1,200 jobs.
Two RGF programmes supporting small and medium-sized companies have started, the first managed by the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) and The Journal-led Let’s Grow campaign.
Omega Plastics, Propipe Limited, Air Products, Traceco and Durable Technologies have all located on to the Tees Valley enterprise zone, representing an investment of £200m and creating 111 jobs.
TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole said: “Prior to us becoming an LEP, most of the investment in the area was handled by the RDA, which had a much bigger budget.
“The sums of money to invest in the North East were greater than what we are bidding for now. The RDA was abolished by the Government, meaning more than £700m in capital funding was no longer available.
“We are bidding for smaller pots of money but, for a population of around 660,000, we’re doing extremely well against all other regions.
“We hit the ground running as an LEP because TVU was an already established organisation that has good relations with the main companies in the area, making our job less difficult.”