Tom Blenkinsop the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has today (7th June 2016) said that Lord Heseltine’s report on the needs of the Tees Valley following the collapse of steelmaker SSI is “A desperately thin document made up of a recipe of old ideas, and with no cash powers to effect real change.”
Tom said: “The document, however much government try to spin it, is simply a cold collation of existing aspirations from our local industries and local councils. Paragraph after paragraph has come straight from the existing Tees Valley Unlimited prospectus for the economic revival of the area.
“What Lord Heseltine – and his government – should have done today is announce that they would put up the cash and the powers to turn sound bites into jobs. But what we got was totally bereft of any new cash and was a simple set of polite “requests” to ministries to “look to help” or to “investigate ways of helping” Teesside and the people and communities of Teesside.
“There were no indications of help to the owners of the “new” British Steel who are now running Skinningrove and the Lackenby Beam Mill and no help to underpin the infrastructure to support their investment.
“There was no mention of the Materials Processing Institute which now occupies the very buildings that used to be Teesside steel’s research hub.
“The single biggest issue – the future of the strategic land where SSI once operated is merely relegated to a new “Mayoral Development Corporation” with no mention of that Corporation having anything more than a meagre cash dowry to somehow plan, implement and complete one of Europe’s biggest industrial site clean ups.
“There was No concept of the remediation works that may be needed and no suggestion of any future use for a site containing one of the UK’s best deep water berths for bulk imports and exports.
“Lord Heseltine’s report could have offered the support Teesside needs but it was nothing more than lip service.”