TOWNS in the region will benefit from up to £125m of government money to help develop innovative regeneration plans.

Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Thornaby and Redcar will each receive up to £25m as part of the governments expanded Towns Fund.

The towns are among the first 100 to be announced as part of the government’s new £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

With five towns from the region included, the Tees Valley will receive more allocations than any other City Region in the UK.

A total of 42 places across the Northern Powerhouse are among the first 100 pioneer towns as part of the government’s commitment to level up all regions by boosting productivity, skills and living standards.

The announcement comes after news in July that Darlington and Stockton will each benefit from up to £300,000 from the government’s Future High Streets Fund. This was followed last month with the news that Loftus had been shortlisted to receive up to £150,000 from the same fund.

Local communities across the Tees Valley will now work with businesses and local leaders to draw up ambitious plans to transform their town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I am absolutely delighted that after months of hard work and lobby government ministers, towns in the Tees Valley are getting up to £125m investment.

“We have seen significant investment into the Tees Valley, including money I have already given to help each of our five boroughs, with £150m earmarked in our Investment Plan to help deliver schemes that will revitalise our communities.

“With both that funding and further government backing, we have a war chest of more than £200m going to our towns so that we can continue to attract and retain the businesses our towns need to thrive and encourage even more people to these spaces.

"This will, in turn, drive up the visitor spend, boosting our economy and create jobs while making Tees Valley an even more dynamic and vibrant place to live and do business.

"This is great news and shows what we can do when we pull together, work hard and put forward a positive vision for our area.”

Simon Clarke, Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland MP and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, added: “This is a hugely positively day for our area and a transformational level of funding.

"The Government is determined to deliver for communities that have been forgotten for far too long and this is exactly what the Prime Minister wants to do more of.

“We all know our towns in the Tees Valley need major investment and this money can be invested in transport, skills, digital and culture to make places like my own home town of Middlesbrough better places to live, work and visit.”