"A dark day for Teesside" which could hamper attempts to find a steel plant buyer

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today expressed what he called his 'raw anger' at news that the government were to go ahead with abolishing England's nine Regional Development Agencies and to replace them with a new bidding structure for the Regional Growth Fund.

Tom Blenkinsop MP said "This is a body blow and represents a U-turn by the Con-Dem coalition leaders who said only weeks ago that RDA's in areas where they enjoyed support could stay in being.  Here in the North East everyone was concious of the great work done by ONE North East in helping to create new jobs and enterprise.   Locally they have helped tremendously in securing new investment at the Wilton Chemicals site and in terms of the work put in by the organisation in reacting to news of the mothballing of the Redcar TCP works"

"On that basis, and aware that the RDA would be needed to help the process of restarting the TCP complex if - as we all hope - a buyer for the plant emerges, everyone in our area called for ONE North East to be kept in existence."

"Instead all we hear is the pronouncement of the death sentence for our RDA and the news that it, together with the other eight RDA's, will be replaced by a new 'bidding process' for firms to register with if they want to access funds for development.  Not only does that mean a massive centralisation of economic development policy away from areas like the North East and down to London, but the sum committed for this - £1 billion across the whole country -  is utterly tiny when seen against the ability of the RDA's to both deploy direct funds and secure massive matching funds from Europe and from financial institutions like the European Investment Bank"

"It is a dark day for Teesside and for the North East as a whole.  I can only feel raw anger"

ENDS

Issued by the Office of Tom Blenkinsop MP