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Ben Houchen: Teesside is no longer seen as an old industrial heartland in decline

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The mayor of Tees Valley writes for The Northern Agenda about his plans to build an industrial future

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For decades Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool were ignored by governments of all colours, with the prevailing view amongst civil servants in Whitehall being that the decline of our area should simply be managed. When I was fortunate to be elected as the first Tees Valley Mayor in 2017, I committed to doing all I could to reverse this outdated view of our wonderful region – and we are winning this battle.

Since discovering iron ore in the Cleveland Hills in 1850, Teesside has been at the forefront of the UK’s industrial development. Teesside steel built the world and as the home of the world’s first integrated chemicals plant, we revolutionised the chemicals industry too.

Now, thanks to devolution, I am able to make sure Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, 200 years on from Teesside’s industrial birth.

So, what does this mean? This means investing in the industries of the future and creating thousands of good-quality, well paid, local jobs for local people at the same time. And this is happening right now.

As Mayor of the Tees Valley, with the powers and finances I have........

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