THE launch of the new South Tees Development Corporation re-enforced to me the serious attention our local economy is being given by the Government, and by international investors and big business.

The fact that the Prime Minister put the weight of her office behind the only Mayoral Development Corporation outside London has caused those in leadership positions to pause and give our area a second look.

On October 16, the South Tees Development Corporation launched a large scale public consultation on its outline plans for the site. These plans are not the final detail but they provide a clear explanation of the direction the board wishes to take and they demonstrate some of the hard work that has been happening behind the scenes since the new organisation was formed.

Steve Gibson, in a short but impassioned speech, said it all when he said: “There have been sensitive, delicate and complex negotiations between developers, Government and landowners, but there is a spring in our step and we are happy as events progress at the site which will have an enormous impact.”

I want my fellow Teessiders to understand how we are approaching this important project. If you want to see more, visit and let me hear your thoughts.

We are now on show and the parade we are staging involves a bi-partisan commitment to exploiting every opportunity to enhance our economy.

Since the Prime Minister’s visit, other ministers have been even more eager to stay in touch with my mayor’s office.

Earlier this month I was honoured to be asked to introduce the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he made his keynote speech to the Conservative conference – TV viewers will have noticed I spent four minutes promoting Tees Valley and four seconds introducing the Chancellor!

It is not just ministers who are listening to us. Two weeks ago I sent representative to the massive MIPIM international property conference in London. He took to the stage alongside the leaders of Manchester and Liverpool and made our case to a cohort of businesses and investment advisers. Following the event the Department of International Trade staged an investors' dinner at which my representative met representatives from bodies such as a Far East bank, which has invested in our chemical sector and is planning more trips to visit our companies.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been confounding the pundits as, pre-Brexit, most commentators predicted it would dry up. However, figures released this month show that there were 2,265 FDI projects in 2016-17, the highest number on record. They resulted in 75,226 new UK jobs.

FDI into the Northern Powerhouse areas grew by five per cent, with well in excess of 300 projects and 15,000 new jobs. This is why I have been so positive about our area and its potential. I have seen the pipeline of enquiries for our for our new Development Corporation and I have heard how investors are looking for opportunities beyond London as the economy rebalances.

Here in the Tees Valley, our own devolution deal combined with the Government’s new Industrial Strategy makes a compelling case for those with money to invest to come to our area.