BUDGET 2018: South Tees Development Corporation to become Special Economic Area

A new Special Economic Area (SEA) will soon be established across South Tees Development Corporation site after an announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond in today’s (29 October) Autumn Budget.

Covering the 4,500-acre site which incorporates the former Redcar SSI steelworksthe UK’s first SEA will give the Development Corporation board the powers to retain business rates to reinvest in developing more of the site, reducing the ask of local taxpayers.

The Chancellor has also pledged up to £14million to be used to prepare a specific parcel of land for development and to enable the two major metals projects, following a business case submitted to Government by the Development Corporation Board this month. This would take Government’s total commitment on the site in the past year to £137million.

The Special Economic Area is expected to be approved by Parliament this year, with work set to start early next year to get the land ready for the projects.

The two projects are worth hundreds of millions of pounds and will bring at least 1,500 jobs for local workers to the area. For one of those projects, the average salary could be as much as £65,000.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who is the Chair of the South Tees Development Corporation, said: “I’ve always said that local taxpayers should not have to pick up the entire cost of SSI’s failures.

“While the Government has already committed £137million this year to help with our plans, Special Economic Area status will allow us to go even further to prepare more land for private investment.

“Rent and business rates collected on this site will be used to remediate even more land. This will reduce our financial ask of taxpayers in the future, and will ensure the private sector rightly picks up some of the slack. It shouldn’t just be left to local people to foot the bill.

“I don’t want to see the money we generate here on Teesside disappearing back to London. If you invest here, and pay taxes here, the money should stay in Teesside.”

Since it was launched by the Prime Minister in 2017, the Development Corporation has already seen more than 100 enquiries from around the world, with a potential first-phase investment pipeline of £10billion.