TEESSIDE has been named by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, as the UK region he hopes will drive forward the nation's economic recovery.

Mr Sunak was answering a question from Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, during Tuesday's House of Commons session.

Mr Young had praised the Chancellor for extending the Government's coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by four months until the end of October.

Mr Young said: "Can I welcome this fantastic announcement on the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and thank my Rt Hon friend for all his department is doing to support businesses in Redcar and Cleveland with CJRS and CBILS and the new Bounce Back Loans too.

"Can he reassure me and employers in my constituency that this support will be kept under review so that it reaches those businesses who need it most?"

The Chancellor replied: "Mr Speaker I can tell my Hon friend and constituency neighbour and give him exactly that reassurance and thank him for all he is doing to support his businesses and constituents at this time.

"I very much welcome the advice that he has given me, feeding back to me about what he is hearing from the ground from businesses in the North East.

"He and I have a shared ambition to make sure that Teesside drives our economic recovery as we come out of that and I look forward to continuing those conversations with him."

The Conservative Government has continued to back Teesside since the General Election in December.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a further £70m investment into the South Tees Development Corporation in January. More than £200m has been invested into STDC by Government since 2017.

The completed scheme is projected to create 20,000 jobs at the site over the next 25 years.

There is an active consultation on freeports and continued investment in Teesside Airport, both of which open Teesside up to international commerce.

The towns of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Thornaby have each been shortlisted as part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Towns Fund programme.

This means they will each be able to bid for up to £25m in funding as part of the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We may be in unusual times but Rishi is absolutely right that here in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we are in a fantastic position to lead our economic recovery and come out of the other side stronger than ever before.

“Our compulsory purchase of the former SSI steelworks means we now have complete control over one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe. The vision for the 4,500-acre site is for it to become home for sectors including clean energy and offshore that will create 20,000 good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people and add £1billion per year into the local economy over 25 years.

“We are not wasting any time. We are getting on with the work that I’ve promised to everyone across the region, and in particular the former steelworkers and their families. That is why I have already instructed Hartlepool-based, Seymour Civil Engineering to begin clearance and preparation work as part of a multi-million contract.

“I’ve always said this redevelopment will be about creating good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people and this is just the start. It won’t just be the surrounding community that will benefit, it will be the whole of the Tees Valley and beyond.

“We already have a reputation as a centre of excellence for offshore wind and we are delivering the world’s first industrial scale use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage with the ground-breaking Net Zero Teesside project, which will create thousands of jobs.

“This is just the start of the turnaround in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. Let’s keep going and make a brighter future for all of us.”