BREXIT in name only will not wash with voters in the North-East, Ben Houchen has said.

The Tees Valley Mayor said it ‘vital’ that Brexit is delivered at the end of the year.

He said he was one the 65 per cent of the people in the region he serves who opted to leave the European Union.

Mr Houchen said: “The majority of voters in my region not only voted overwhelmingly for Brexit in 2016, but they also voted for a Conservative Government in 2019, many for the first time, on the basis, amongst other things, that ministers would ‘Get Brexit Done’.

“While each of us did so for different reasons, we all believed that the UK could do a better job of running its own affairs than unelected officials in Brussels could, including when it comes to customs and trade policy.

“Brexit in name only won’t wash. People in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool want to see real change that will allow us to unleash our potential, and of the ways we can do that is by via Freeports, allowing us to benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation, helping to create thousands of jobs and boost post-Brexit growth.

Mr Houchen said Teesside is the perfect place to take a lead in post-Brexit international trade with the first Freeport in the UK.

He said: “This would be a massive opportunity for our area and would help bring huge investment and good quality jobs for local people, putting more money in their pockets for them and their families in the process.

“We will always succeed as a region, bit if we are to maintain their faith in our democratic system, the decision the British people made in 2016 must be respected, so that must mean delivering Brexit in full.”

 'No-deal' Brexit warning for North-East

The Northern Echo:

Simon Henig

Councillor Simon Henig, who leads Durham County said he thought it was vital that the North-East economy faces as little as possible further disruption as a result of the end of the transition period after January 1.

He said: “This is already a very challenging time and any further costs or restrictions on our businesses will be extremely damaging.

“Also becoming increasingly urgent is the replacement for the significant levels of regional funding which the North-East has previously received but on which little detail has been announced so far.

“The Government needs to be clear that its Shared Prosperity Fund which will replace the regional funding previously received, not only matches the levels of funding allocated to areas such as the North-East, but that decisions on how the fund is allocated must be made locally.”