Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today hit out at what he said ‘was a distinct possibility’ that development land on Teesside might be sold off and the funds passed to boost housing or jobs growth in the wealthy south.
Tom was speaking after receiving a letter from Government Business Minister, Mark Prisk MP, and in which Mr Prisk outlined the policies the government would be putting in place to sell off land in the former ownership of Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s).
Tom said “the former RDA for the North East, ONE ne, had acquired large tracts of land in and around Durham Tees Valley Airport and around Middlehaven, Middlesbrough in order to facilitate business growth at and around the airport and on Middlehaven. The letter from Mr Prisk said explicitly that whilst the new Local Economic Partnerships (LEP’s) would be allowed to carry on these developments if they had the capacity to do so, they would not be allowed to acquire the receipts from the sale of these land holdings, cash which would instead, go straight back to the Business Ministry in London for re-use nationally”
“This raises the spectre that cash made out of selling land on Teesside would not come back to Teesside, but instead be used for other government programmes elsewhere, and possibly being used to facilitate new private housing or commercial development in London and the South East, areas already wealthy, and which could be made even more wealthier at Teesside’s expense. This, if it were to happen, would be criminal, and I demand that Mr Prisk rethinks this policy as a matter of extreme urgency.”