TOM BLENKINSOP MP SLAMS GOVERNMENT OVER MONEY PROMISED FOR TEESSIDE

 
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop has today slammed the coalition government for breaking yet another pre-election pledge over the future of the £60m Tees Valley Industrial Programme.

 

The fund was set up in the wake of the mothballing of Corus Teesside Cast Products and aimed at helping the area diversify into new renewable energy and high technology industries.

 

During the election campaign, Tom Blenkinsop challenged the local Conservative Party Candidate on the future of the fund. Tory candidate Paul Bristow replied that "One North East's functions as a regeneration agency will be retained. Whatever the new structure, that money will be protected and won't be gone because that's One North East money." 

 

Earlier this autumn, during his visit to the region, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced that the people of Teesside would have to wait until the Comprehensive Spending Review to learn whether the whole of the £60 million rescue package pledged by the previous Labour Government would still be available to invest in the area.

 

Tom Blenkinsop MP said,

 

“I have been constantly asking the Coalition Government to come clean to the people in our area about whether this crucial funding promised by Labour will still be available.  I was told that we would be informed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement but no such announcement was made.  I therefore tabled a Parliamentary Question and received an unsatisfactory answer which didn’t really help at all.  I also wrote directly to Vince Cable asking him to clarify the situation and I have just received a reply from Mark Prisk, his junior in the Business Department, who happens to be a Tory.  Either the Business Secretary has been overruled by his Tory masters on this issue or he feels that crucial funding promised for our area is below his pay grade.”
 

“The letter states that any of the funding which hasn’t already been invested will not be made available and that projects in the Tees Valley which need funding will have to apply to the Regional Growth Fund.  As I suspected, the Lib Dems and the Tories don’t understand or care about Teesside and the loss of this crucial investment will be felt throughout the region.”
 
 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Mr Bristow said: "The money from the funding package is existing One North East money - it's not new money. "One North East's functions as a regeneration agency will be retained. Whatever the new structure, that money will be protected and won't be gone because that's One North East money."  Teesside's Corus cash 'safe', say Conservatives - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8645392.stm
  2. A copy of the letter from Mark Prisk MP to Tom Blenkinsop MP is attached. Prisk letter to Tom Blenkinsop