THE new Tees Valley Development Corporation has got off to a flying start.

The body that has been charged with creating jobs in communities hit by the closure of Redcar steelworks doesn’t officially launch for a few weeks yet it’s already boosting employment opportunities.

Unfortunately the first opportunity it has created is a £58,000-a-year Government role that will be based in Westminster. So much for regional devolution.

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The advert on the website of the Department for Communities and local Government warns applicants that the position “can include occasional trips to Tees Valley.” How crass. How ill-judged. How typical of the way our region is regarded by Whitehall.

Why not create the job right here in Tees Valley where a £58,000 role would attract some skilled candidates rather than throw it open to people who in all likelihood think Middlesbrough is spelled with two o’s?

The job should be given to someone with a deep understanding of the area. It should be based in the North-East and the advert should have included the line "may include the occasional trip to London."

The development corporation is supposed to be a symbol of how Tees Valley is taking control of its economic future. In May residents elected a mayor, Ben Houchen, who has some bold plans to revive the local economy, such as wresting control of the local airport from owners Peel. The mayor is the figurehead for the Government’s devolution deal with the area, and the development corporation is the body that will drive growth and investment.

Failing to base its project leader in the area they're trying to help just perpetuates the idea that power brokers need to be based down south. It shows that the Government still doesn't trust regions to take charge of their own affairs. It is an insult to our region.