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Alex comments on publication of Heseltine review of Tees Valley

Commenting on the publication of Lord Heseltine’s review of the Tees Valley, Labour’s Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, said:

“There are no surprises and no new ideas from Lord Heseltine for the Tees Valley – plenty of advice about who should be working together, how the things that are already happening should continue, how the Government and its agencies should work with local authorities on housing, education and infrastructure, and how the new Combined Authority can work with others on the arts and tourism agenda.

“I was looking for something of real substance, not a series of patronising statements such as the one saying local councils should continue to write to underperforming schools and the suggestion the Teesside Collective should work with existing petroleum and carbon dioxide licence holders. Both these things are already happening.

“What we should have seen are ideas to add to the existing local industrial and business strategy planned by our local authorities and backed by real identified Government resources to make it a reality – including the development of industrial carbon capture and storage.

“Our local authority budgets have nearly halved under the previous coalition government and the current Conservative one. If Lord Heseltine, on behalf of the Government, is really determined to make a difference for our area, he will need to fight for many of those budgets to be restored so that the people who do know the area and have the knowledge and expertise to deliver an exciting vision for the future can get on with the job.”