A demand for an investigation into “crony contracts” and lack of transparency at the Teesworks site, in which 90 per cent of shares are in the hands of two Teesside businessmen, has been issued to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham in the first Prime Minister Questions of the new year.
The 4,500-acre site was originally split fifty-fifty between the South Tees Development Corporation and private developers, JC Musgrave Capital, Northern Land Management Ltd and DCS Industrial Ltd, however the STDC agreed to transfer 40 per cent of its shares leaving the public ownership of the site at 10 per cent.
Changes to the site’s ownership were listed on Companies House in January 2022 without any consultation or opportunities for scrutiny.
The need for a full investigation into the crustacean die-offs on Tees shores, which is yet to be conclusively determined, was also raised by Alex.
Ignoring Alex’s question on Teesworks, the Prime Minister focused his answer solely on the issue of crustacean die-offs to repeat that natural causes – the algal bloom theory – was “most likely” the cause of “some of the things we saw” and refer to a new inquiry into the die-offs.
“I’m amazed the Prime Minister relied on old, outdated information to address the environmental tragedy off our coast – his own government have called in expert scientists to carry out their own investigations but he seemed to know nothing about that – perhaps an indication that the whole thing is a sham.
“As for the Teesworks site, taxpayers are set to lose tens of millions of pounds after the transfer of valuable public assets into private hands – a transfer made without a full and transparent procurement process. It’s only right that this agreement and other contracts relating to it are properly scrutinised to ensure the Teesside public are getting a good deal.
“It’s time for the Tees Valley Mayor to stop behind hiding loopholes and insults, start treating the public with respect and be open about the deals at Teesworks. If he won’t then his friend the Prime Minister should launch an inquiry into it.”
The full exchange can be found here.