Responding to the Tees Valley Freeport bid, which was submitted on Friday 5 February, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said:
“It’s vital that we have a plan for our post-Covid recovery, and I welcome the Freeport bid as part of this. It’s a shame that the Mayor has shrouded the Freeport in secrecy until today but I hope we will start to see more detail as it moves to the next stage. One question I’d have is how much value this adds to PD Port’s existing business plans for the area.
“Anything that boosts jobs – and helps replace the 12500 lost across the Tees Valley in the last 11 months – has got to be positive but it is unclear exactly how they will be realised. Too often we’ve heard the Mayor make promises of “jobs to come” and I’d like to see a plan for when these will materialise.
“Nor can we have a situation where companies simply relocate to get the benefits of the Freeport. We need new development which will drive new good, well-paid and secure jobs in our area. It is also essential that our communities are compensated by the Government for the business rates lost from existing and new businesses within the freeport zones.
“Anything that can help the Tees Valley reach its potential is welcome but I recognise this isn’t a cure-all. We need to see a proper plan for economic growth across our entire region, with a Freeport playing a role in this.”