December 7, 2018
On October 29, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Budget that the 4500-acre South Tees Development Corporation site – which incorporates the former
Redcar SSI steelworks – will be the UK’s first Special Economic Area (SEA) and that this will give the Tees Valley Mayor and the Development Corporation board the powers to retain business rates to reinvest in developing more of the site.
The Special Economic Area is expected to be approved by Parliament this year, with Mayor Houchen pledging to use these new powers to ensure future business rates and rent collected on the site will be reinvested into cleaning up more land for development.
The Mayor said: “Special Economic Area status will allow us to go even further to prepare more land for private investment.”
Hailing the news as “the first step to creating
a Free Zone in the Tees Valley”, Mayor Houchen added: “Once our future trading relationship with the EU becomes clearer, I’ll be submitting a full and comprehensive proposal to Government to ensure our new Special Economic Area is granted all the customs and trade benefits you see with Free Zones around the world.”
The Chancellor also pledged up to £14 million to undertake early redevelopment of a part of the site and attract new business and investment. This would take Government’s total commitment on the site in the past year to £137 million.
The additional cash announced will assist in immediate short-term measures to unlock two major metalworks projects. Work will start early next year to get the area ready for the projects, which are worth hundreds of millions of pounds and will bring at least 1500 jobs for local workers.
The announcement has been welcomed by Edward Farmer, managing director of the UK Free Trade Zone Association. He said: “This initiative to create jobs and help regenerate this part of the North East is most welcome. I hope it is the first step in the Government establishing Free Trade Zones in the Tees Valley and throughout the UK.”
Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “This announcement is
great news for industry in the Tees Valley, the kind of businesses that will occupy the South Tees site can build on and add to our area’s already strong materials and process sectors.”