REGENERATION chiefs last night unveiled details of a "big, bold and innovative" bid to bring 43,000 jobs to the region.

Plans to create an Enterprise Zone have been approved in principle by the Leadership Board of Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), but the acid test will come once the ambitious scheme is submitted to Government on June 29.

The scale of the bid, which aims to create 1,250 new business and generate about £4bn-worth of capital investment over the next 25 years, is expected to be met with approval by a Government determined to boost the private sector.

However, Stephen Catchpole, Managing Director of TVU, admitted that his team faces "a huge task" to persuade the Treasury it should fund the plan in its entirety.

Its biggest challenge is to secure enhanced capital allowances to support investment in major plant and machinery, which could create about 15,000 jobs over ten sites across the region.

TVU will spend the next two weeks in consultation with industry bodies such as the North East Chamber of Commerce, manufacturers organisation EEF, the CBI, and the Federation of Small Businesses, to secure their backing.

Support from the wider Tees Valley business community will also be key for the bid to succeed.

Headline details of the Enterprise Zone emerged last week, but the full plan underlines TVU's vision to attract major firms from abroad, and foster indigenous small firms to support the manufacturing and industrial base, and to develop the emerging digital and renewables sectors.

In the last Budget, Tees Valley was one of 11 areas awarded an Enterprise Zone, which benefit from a range of business incentives. The TVU plan is, by some distance, the most innovative being put to Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Secretary, who is expected to give his response by mid July. Manchester and Bristol have centered their zones in one specific location, whereas TVU wants to create 24 sites, backed by one of three enhancements. It is proposed that eight sites are handed business rate relief; 10 given enhanced capital allowances, and 6 funded by Tax Incremental Finance (TIF), which use future gains in taxes to finance current developments.

Outlining the challenge ahead, Mr Catchpole said: "We are quietly confident that what we are proposing will tick all of the boxes the Government are looking for in terms of stimulating business growth and creating jobs. But, we are under no illusions that we face a huge task to get the green light for everything.

"What we are proposing fits the economic geography of this region. It is big, bold and innovative, and will have a transformational affect upon the areas future economic prospects, particularly in our industrial heartland on Teesside."

Property experts Savills were appointed to help identify the 24 sites which were whittled down from an initial list of more than 40 locations.

Only one site in Darlington is included in the plan, which aims to create a digital hub in Central Park. Chris McEwan, Darlington Council's Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: "This is great news for Darlington and the Tees Valley. The Enterprise Zones will enhance our local economies and put the Tees Valley firmly on the map as a viable area for business and investment."

John Adlen, Director of Development at Savills, said: “The process we’ve gone through in identifying the sites has been a thorough one using Tees Valley Unlimited’s Statement of Ambition together with other key factors, such as deliverability as criteria.

"We’re confident the proposals will bring maximum reward to the area, supporting growth at all levels.”