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Tory mayor in £100m Budget bid

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The Conservative Tees Valley mayor has asked the chancellor for £100m in the Budget to help package up an old steelworks site to potential investors.

Ben Houchen wants to use the funds to prepare the 4,500-acre site, a part of which was the base of the SSI steelworks before it closed down, for development. Money would also go towards keeping the site secure and environmentally safe.

In August, prime minister Theresa May launched the first mayoral development corporation outside of London to cover the site in the Tees Valley.

However, Mr Houchen said this bid would be a “litmus test of the government’s commitment to Teesside”.

Having received more than 60 serious enquiries from businesses around the world, Mr Houchen said: “We have private sector investors lining up to plough money into this site, but we need to get the land cleared up and ready so we can start to see some new jobs for local people.

“I have held months’ worth of meetings with ministers and have received strong support for my proposals – but now I want the government to put its money where its mouth is.”

A draft master plan has estimated up to 20,000 jobs could be created once the site has been fully redeveloped, and projected it could add an additional £1bn to the local economy.

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