Ben Houchen has pledged to cap bus fares for under 21s at £1 if he is re-elected Tees Valley Mayor in May.

This follows his other major announcement to build a new hospital in Teesside to replace the University Hospital of North Tees.

In his campaign launch, Lord Houchen made it clear that in this term, if he is re-elected, he plans to focus on the people living in the area.

He believes that this change will make the area "better connected and more affordable".

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said, "We have spent the past six-and-a-half years putting in the key building blocks to get our area back to the starting line, so that we could once again begin attracting the global investment and jobs that we deserve.

"This is now happening on a huge scale, and it is time to move to the next chapter, ensuring local people in Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool feel the benefit of this hard work in their day to day lives.

"I have already announced that I will build Teesside the new hospital it deserves, and this pledge will build on this work to ensure hard working people from across our area benefit from the improvements we are seeing.

"The fantastic jobs are now coming to our area, and we need to make sure our next generation are connected to these and the training opportunities that come with them.

"I want to remove the barriers to accessing good quality local jobs by making sure our transport system is both better connected and more affordable. This pledge alongside my £1billion transport plan will do just that."

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Chris McEwan, Labour's candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said: "Local bus services have declined by 30 per cent across the North East since the Tories came into power 14 years ago.

"While cheaper bus tickets for young people are welcome, Lord Houchen has once again failed to get a grip of this drastic loss of service.

"As Tees Valley Mayor, my mission would be to take control of our bus services with a Transport Plan that delivers cheaper fares and give the people of Tees Valley the quality bus service they deserve."