Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'It's New Money'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'It's New Money'

Article excerpt

Byline: KELLEY PRICE @kelleyprice_gaz

TEES Valley's Mayor says a cash injection for Teesside is all 'new' money - and critics who say otherwise are 'lashing out' after a 'great Budget for Teesside.'.

Confusion over the announcement increased after Budget documents appeared to indicate just PS5m of new cash actually been assigned to the Redcar steelworks.

Mayor Ben Houchen said PS68m - just over half of the PS123m pot for the massive South Tees Development Corporation site - was for ongoing maintenance to keep the former 800-acre SSI steelworks safe; but it was still new money.

Mr Houchen, who put the case to the Treasury, said: "The Government has already put in tens of millions that people aren't aware of to keep it safe."

A total of PS50m would go towards getting the 4,500-acre site 'investor ready' and developing parcels of land to 'get them over the line', he added. And the PS5m referenced in Budget documents has been assigned for 'technical investigations' by the STDC and marketing the site to potential new investors - over and above those already interested.

He said: "Before the Chancellor stood up, we didn't have PS123m - now we do. That's the definition of new money for me. It's also a lot more than we asked for.

"People are lashing out because this has been a great Budget for the people of the Tees Valley.

"They can try to say the keep-safe money was there already, it wasn't. This is all new money."

But Labour MP for Redcar Anna Turley said: "Most of the [funds announced in the Budget] look to be previously announced basic maintenance funding for keeping the site safe.

"This should go without saying as the Government made the decision to close the site and must bear the safety costs that come with that until the site is redeveloped.

"There is nothing new in this announcement that will create new jobs and attract investment. …

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