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Business & Economy

£16.5 million fund for Tees Valley creative and visitor sector

Tees Valley Combined Authority has approved plans for a £16.5 million programme to support the long-term recovery of the creative and visitor sectors following COVID-19.

The funds will be used to support business resilience, development and growth, while also attracting new events to the region and boosting Tees Valley’s profile as a visitor destination.

It is projected that there will be a loss of 48.4 per cent to Teesside’s visitor economy in 2020.

44 per cent of creative, culture, tourism and hospitality businesses have also reported that their businesses may to permanently close, compared to 28 per cent across all sectors.

In response, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen established a task force chaired by ARC’s chief executive and artistic director Annabel Turpin.

The task force will provide sector-led advice and inform the £16.5 million programme.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “As well as protecting people’s health, one of my top priorities during this coronavirus pandemic has been to protect people’s jobs, businesses and livelihoods.

“We did that in the short-term by moving quickly with funding to help our pubs, restaurants, hotels and other public-facing businesses open back up as soon as possible after the first lockdown, but now we need to look to the longer term and make sure these valuable sectors are fit for the future.

“This £16.5 million programme is tightly focused to help bring more brilliant events to our region and shore up our businesses, helping them grow in the long term.

“This will not only create jobs and drive growth but making Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool an even better place to live and visit.”

Annabel Turpin said: “This is a real boost for the sector during challenging times and shows that by working collaboratively we can make an even more valuable contribution to our local economy.”