LABOUR'S candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, Jessie Joe Jacobs has said she plans 'a local Amazon' to spear-head a 'buy local' revolution.

Ms Jacobs said she aims to put a virtual market-place that connects producers and consumers at the heart of a new local economy.

She said: "We will create our own local Amazon and will have a 'buy local' revolution."

Ms Jacobs wants to create a 'Buy Local, Buy Social' ethos geared to boosting business by giving a helping hand to local firms.

She has a vision of a 'Made In Tees Valley’ stamp that is the proud hallmark that underpins a local business boom and promotes local produce on the national stage.

Ms Jacobs wants local authorities, hospitals and schools as well as businesses to back the framework and buy local whenever they can to boost Tees firms. She said: “We must ensure that more of the money created here, stays here. We will create a digital hub, a local Amazon, to connect our producers and consumers easily on-line and boost trade within the Tees.

“As Mayor I’ll encourage local public services such as councils, hospitals and universities to join this framework, and encourage large private sector firms to join a ‘Keep it local’ campaign.

“I will champion a buy local campaign and investigate the development of a Tees Pound to be spent in local, independent businesses, keeping more money in our economy and helping sustain a vibrant and diverse small business offer.

“We will work with employers to ensure they prioritise local small businesses and local employment when buying their supplies and services. Rather than spend the region’s money with large corporations headquartered outside of the region, we can create local contracts and see money spent locally.

“This creates more local jobs so there is more money in the local community and more can be spent at local businesses. The cycle just keeps on going.

“By making a small change in people’s shopping habits we would see a significant higher social return on all our investments and would be a genuine boost to the local economy.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, said: “As Mayor I have made backing local companies a top priority and I’m doing this at our airport, at the Teesworks site and on our high streets.

“Since I bought our airport and saved it from closure, dozens of local firms have been involved with Teesside Airport. Right now local electricians, joiners, decorators and a host of other trades and professional services continue to be involved in transforming our airport - an airport my Labour opponent has said is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“To back our independent retailers on our high streets and in our town centres I set up Buy Local Tees Valley at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic to connect local people with local businesses that were operating differently, but still trading. Since its launch over 1,000 local businesses have signed up to the service which has been used by more than 58,000 visitors.

"Over the last 12-months we’ve provided over £16million of support to local businesses, including dedicating millions of pounds through my Welcome Back and Back to Business Funds. Backing our amazing local businesses and supporting thousands of local jobs.

“On the Teesworks site we’ve created over 500 good-quality well-paid local jobs, with local contractors, that are putting more money in the pockets of local workers and their families so they can support town centres across the region.

“And we’ve provided Stockton Council with £20million to support their plans to create a new high street destination, plus backed councils across the region in their bids for cash from the Governments Towns Fund.

“We’ve made huge progress over the last 4-years, but there is so much more to do.

“So the choice is clear, we can continue the progress we are making or we can go back to square one with Labour.”