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Tees Valley to receive part of £170m arts fund

Tees Valley set to receive a fund by Arts Council England Credit: PA

Tees Valley is one of the areas set to benefit from a new, four-year funding round by Arts Council England.

Arts Council England announced that it will invest an extra £170m outside of London between 2018 and 2022.

The Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company are having their funding cut as a result of a new Arts Council settlement which will see more money go outside London.

Other areas set to benefit include Plymouth, Bradford, Luton and Stoke-on-Trent.

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Labour selects candidate for Tees Valley Mayor role

"I am very proud to be the first woman selected by Labour to stand as candidate in the Metro mayor elections. As mayor I will be a new voice, to speak out, to challenge, and to deliver real change." Credit: Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

The Labour Party has announced Sue Jeffrey as its candidate for the Tees Valley Mayoral election.

The leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council beat Stockton councillor Chris Barlow following a vote among the area's party members.

Councillor Jeffrey says creating jobs, increasing pay and tackling inequality will be among her goals should she become the first elected mayor of the Tees Valley region in May.

In her speech, Sue Jeffrey said:

Quite rightly there has been a lot of scepticism about the idea of a Tees Valley Mayor and together we made it clear that if we were to go ahead with a mayor we needed a great deal from Government.

Tough negotiations have meant we have secured that deal.

For the first time ever we are bringing powers back to the Tees Valley from London, giving us the freedom to do things for ourselves.

To grow our economy, tackle inequality and make a real difference to the lives of the 660,000 people who live here.

– Sue Jeffrey

Her selection has been endorsed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said the Labour Party is "very proud" to have a candidate that "is a local person with considerable standing in her community".

Leader of Redcar Council to seek nomination for Metro Mayoral election

Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, Councillor Sue Jeffrey, has announced her intention to seek nomination as Labour’s candidate for the upcoming Metro Mayoral election for the Tees Valley next May.

Sue, who has lived and worked in the Tees Valley for 35 years, has been leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council since May 2015 and was Chair of the Combined Authority in 2015-2016.

Sue said:

I am seeking this nomination as I believe I am the best person to be Mayor. I have the experience, the knowledge and the values needed to lead us forward at this pivotal moment for our economy and jobs.

For too long the future of the Tees Valley has been in the hands of faceless officials in Whitehall who know nothing about our area. At last we have a chance to change that.

Throughout my career I have been a tireless ambassador for the Tees Valley and its people. I am passionate about the area, our industry, our businesses and our communities. I want to make sure they have the best opportunities to prosper, grow and realise their potential. I know that I can play a big part in making that happen.”

– Councillor Sue Jeffrey

If selected, Sue will be the first woman in the UK to be picked by the Labour Party to contest a MetroMayor election.

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Council and company to meet over energy plant pause

Stockton Council is due to meet Air Products UK later over the future of its second energy-from-waste plant on Teesside.

Yesterday the firm announced it is pausing construction on TV2 at Seal Sands, with the future of more than 700 workers now uncertain.

We appreciate that this is a very worrying time for all those affected and are meeting with Air Products representatives tomorrow to establish the full facts.

We will work closely with our neighbouring local authorities and other organisations to provide effective and appropriate support to the contractors affected and their families.

The Tees Valley local authorities have a proven track record of working together in situations like this and together we will make sure that support can be easily accessed and identified."

– Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Council

TV2 plant: 'the days seem to be getting darker and darker for Teesside'

The MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald, has responded to the decision by Air Products to suspend construction of the second energy from waste project (TV2) at Seal Sands on Teesside.

This is another industrial catastrophe and personal disaster for hundreds of families on Teesside.

The technical problems revealed regarding the TV1 Air Products facility in Stockton that may lead to the ‘pausing’ of construction on the sister plant TV2 are cold comfort to the workforce there.

The days seem to be getting darker and darker for Teesside as another industrial catastrophe erupts.

As I understand it, modifications being made on TV1 may necessitate some modifications for the new TV2 plant. Consequently, development of the TV2 plant is being 'paused.

That it is merely 'paused' is no solace to the 800 workers who's will be laid off directly and among the various contractors involved in TV2 construction works.> With no information as to whether this 'pause' will be weeks or months, workers still have their mortgages and bills to pay with no means of doing so. And this in the run-up to Christmas too.

Hopefully this is a technical issue of short duration.

Then again, ahead of the Paris conference on climate change next month, the Government has the opportunity and must be seen to be sending out the right message about renewable energy sources and the support they need to secure their long term investments.

I will be writing to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement to remind him of this and to provide help for the important and emerging renewable industries here on Teesside that are vital to ensuring our energy use is sustainable in the future as well combatting the real threat of climate change.

I will also be supporting and working with other local MPs to see what can be done to minimise the impact of the companies decision on Teesside to avoid yet another potential serious blow to jobs and industry not only locally but in the north east.

– Andy McDonald MP
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