TODAY the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced that Teesside had been successful for a bid to bring a Freeport to the region.

The bid, submitted to Government just a month ago by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, covers sites across the region, including Teesworks, Wilton International, Teesside International Airport, the Port of Middlesbrough, the Port of Hartlepool, Liberty Steel, LV Shipping and PD Ports.

Here's how leaders and politicans reacted to Teesside being named as one of eight areas that will soon have a Freeport.

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “Future generations will look back on today and say this was the day Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool was reborn as an industrial powerhouse.

READ MORE: Teesside awarded 'biggest' Freeport with promise of tsunami of jobs

“The Teesside Freeport marks the start of us returning to our rightful place on the world stage as a global player in advanced manufacturing and engineering. Today’s announcement now means that investors from across the world will choose to bring their investment to Teesside instead of elsewhere in the world. Investment that previously would have wandered off to Holland or Germany will now come to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool - creating thousands of well-paid jobs for local people.

“With the largest development site in Western Europe, amazing infrastructure, a workforce to be envied and now the UK’s largest Freeport, we’ve put the building blocks in place for local people to benefit from the tsunami of jobs and investment that will come to our area in the weeks and months ahead.

“It’s taken nearly four years to turn this plan into a reality, but good things come to those who wait - and better things come to those who fight for what they deserve. The future of our area has been set on a new path. A path of prosperity, investment, jobs and a better life for local people.

“As we look towards our recovery from Covid, this allows us to not only recover but come back bigger, better and stronger than ever.”

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The Teesside Freeport will create, reportedly, 18,000 skilled, good-quality jobs within five years, boost the local economy by £3.4billion and support offshore wind, clean energy, chemicals and process, and advanced manufacturing sectors.

About the Freeport's expected 18,000 skilled, good-quality jobs within five years, Simon Clarke MP said: "I believe we will see jobs very soon. Now that it has been announced, companies will be finalising investment decisions. In the short term, this will allow us to see progress with the SSI site becoming a business zone, people will want to be there."

Andy Koss, CEO of Sembcorp Energy UK, said: “We’re delighted with today’s news. A freeport on Teesside will promote regeneration in the region and will be an excellent spur to sustainable inward investment and job creation.

"Teesside has a long association with the chemical sector and we know that this creates highly skilled roles, generates significant value for the UK and helps to develop supply chains for the region.

“At Sembcorp Energy UK, we have development land available and an established “plug and play” infrastructure, enabling the benefits of a freeport zone to be realised quickly as new investors will  have the utilities they need as soon as they are operational. We will continue to work with our partners in the region to make this a success.

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“We also believe that this announcement will support a transition to a low carbon economy and our own plans and those of our existing customers to decarbonise our operations, as Teesside is also well placed to deliver on the Government’s Net Zero targets”.

Areas given Freeport status within the region would 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.

Richard Holden MP for North West Durham, said: “This is a budget which delivers on the Government’s levelling up agenda, as well as delivering a credible long term plan for Britain.

“The fantastic news for the North East regarding the Treasury getting a new site at Darlington and Teesside getting a free port will help deliver thousands of good local jobs across the entire region and should be welcomed by everyone. It’s a testament to the work of the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Conservative MPs from across the region, who have been fighting to level up the North East.

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“Finally, there is absolutely fantastic extra support for hospitality, particularly the measures that have been announced to keep VAT low for our recovery. The Chancellor’s decision to freeze beer duty for only the third time in 20 years is really welcome for our local pubs and hospitality sector and will go an enormously long way to helping them to build back better after what has been a very difficult year for many.”

Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Teesside’s freeport bid has been successful.

"This is a massive vote of confidence in the region as we bounce back from coronavirus, and will support investment and jobs not only in my constituency of Stockton South but across the whole area.

"There is an amazing world of opportunities, talent and skills in Teesside and I’m glad the Government has come out in support of them.

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"The fact it’s also being centred on Teesside’s old steelworks is also really exciting – building on our industrial heritage and replacing jobs that have been lost in recent decades.   

"This has been a really exciting time for Teesside, especially as our airport has been reborn, and I look forward to this freeport propelling us even further.”

Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour Candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said: "Obviously, I welcome anything that brings jobs to the Tees, we all do – but Freeports are not a silver bullet solution to the problems we face.

"It is not a quick fix for an area that has really suffered under 10 years of Tory government and four year of a Tory mayor. 

"And Freeports are not new. We have had them before and they weren’t a game changer then. They tend to move jobs rather than create them. That's why the Con-Lib coalition wound them up. 

"But if it means investment in the Tees I would welcome that - but we must ensure the new jobs are real jobs, secure and skilled jobs with good wages and conditions. That is what we desperately need here.

"The incentives for business to come here are important though and we need to make sure we take the opportunity to build an economy fit for the future."

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: "Liverpool, Humberside and Teesside are all strategically well-placed as freeports to deliver vital economic regeneration for local communities. 

"We now need better transport infrastructure and improved rail connectivity to unlock the maximum economic impact from this investment, which we hope to see in the Integrated Rail Plan later this spring."

Patrick Erwin, Policy & Markets Director at Northern Powergrid, said: "Today’s Budget was squarely focused on economic uplift. A huge part of that is the development of  the clean energy industry at a rapid pace.

"It’s a development we are proud to be at the heart of. What was great to see in the Budget announcement and supporting documents was the clear leadership role our region is taking. Teesside was singled out as a hub for offshore wind, a new UK Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Leeds will support the green recovery and Able Marine Energy Park on Humberside looks set for a boost.

"As the local electricity network serving all these places, we stand ready for collaboration with all partners to ensure this region has a bright green future."  

Although it was a strong day for the North East and in particular Teesside, the CEO of the Port of Tyne and Port of Blyth, have voiced their disappointment that the North East Freeport bid was unsuccessful.

Matt Beeton, CEO, Port of Tyne, Martin Lawlor, CEO, Port of Blyth and Lucy Winskell OBE, CEO North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Today in the Budget, the Chancellor announced the shortlist for England’s freeport sites. Despite North East England Freeport being an outstandingly strong contender and universally endorsed - by business leaders, our cross party MPs, seven local authorities, two combined authorities and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership - our proposal was not among those selected. 

"After four years developing the bid, we are naturally disappointed by this decision. It was a once in a generation opportunity to transform the lives of millions of people.

"Our vision for North East England Freeport was extremely ambitious. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved and the collaboration shown points to a very bright future.

"Our region’s leaders came forward to demonstrate their public support for the bid and heads of over 40 organisations signed a personal letter to Rishi Sunak outlining why it was so vital. The North East England Freeport would have delivered over 60,000 more and better jobs and helped to deliver a multi-billion pound boost to the North East’s industries.

"It would have secured new opportunities for local communities that have experienced severe economic scarring and been especially badly affected by Covid-19. Today’s news was not what we had all hoped for, but we must show the resolve and tenacity the North East region is renowned for and find alternatives.

"Our proposals contained some fantastic initiatives that we will look to implement irrespective of this decision and our Steering Group will explore how we can take some of these ideas forward. We will continue to promote our region’s industrial strengths and the target clusters of offshore wind, advanced manufacturing, automotive and digital innovation, using our world-class ports and manufacturing hubs by other means. 

"On behalf of the whole team behind North East England Freeport, we thank all our supporters and those behind the scenes who worked tirelessly to make our vision a reality for their community."