Tees Valley Mayoral Manifesto

Sally Bunce, Tees Valley Mayor Candidate


I am proud to be a resident of the Tees Valley.  It’s a wonderful place but it could be even better – we need change and I can bring positive change, starting with transparency, honesty and integrity.

We’ve all been let down by those in power by their failures in so many areas. The problems our region suffers from need to be addressed at the root causes, by working with people and organisations from across the Teesside. Regeneration needs to be carried out sustainably – the health and wellbeing of local people, small and medium businesses and our fragile environment should be prioritised over profits for wealthy businesses and individuals.

In the Tees Valley we have a history of heavy industry which has forged proud, hard-working communities.

We have incredible beaches and landscapes which stretch for miles, providing unrivalled opportunities for tourism and leisure. We have ancient woodlands, rolling hills and iconic rivers.

We have amazing people whose skills and talents are just waiting to be unlocked.

But in recent years we have so many projects where hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on large schemes with little benefit for ordinary people – this is our money, and it should be spent on projects that will benefit us all.

We need a new style of leadership that works for all people, so we can all thrive. So many people have told me they are tired and turned off by the old, stale style of politics.

If elected I will:

  • Work WITH communities, ensuring they’re involved in projects that are about them from the outset.
  • Provide openness, honesty and integrity – both personally, and to all political operations and decisions.
  • Prioritise the needs of people rather than business as usual, bringing decent employment spread right across the region.
  • Take direct action to bring down emissions and work towards a Net Zero Tees Valley for a brighter, healthier future.

I have an unrivalled determination to create the future for the Tees Valley which we all want to see and experience. If elected I will use the Mayoral powers to get the best possible outcomes for the people and environment of our region.

1. Employment

  • I will ensure that there will be a job for everyone who wants one, and the necessary skills training and support will be available to ensure people feel supported and equipped to carry out their chosen role.
  • Investment in job creation must be shared equally among all sectors including small and medium businesses, sole traders, and the self employed. Statistically, small businesses are more likely to offer opportunities to those marginalised by society.
  • Every job should be equally valued – individuals’ circumstances may prevent them from pursuing the kinds of jobs that are traditionally thought of as “highly skilled.” All work should be secure, fulfilling and pay a decent wage to enable everyone to thrive.
  • Traditional industries such as fishing should receive the support needed to ensure they can continue to fish sustainably and be paid to participate in coastal regeneration projects.
  • Tourism provides a huge opportunity to generate local employment and boost the local economy. Our breathtaking beaches and miles of stunning coastline rub shoulders with the idyllic North York Moors. Protected species including seals, dolphins, whales and rare birds frequent our unique wildlife habitats.
  • The Tees Valley truly is an incredible place to live, work and raise a family. Encouraging others to visit and share all that we often take for granted will regenerate our high streets and towns and put money in the pockets of those who need it most.

2. Transport

  • I will use Mayoral powers to overhaul the public transport system to make it integrated within the whole of the Tees Valley.
  • Increased use of the various public transport services will only happen if they are affordable, reliable and inclusive across the entire region.
  • Public transport must no longer be viewed solely on profitability but as a convenient, affordable option for people to travel where they want to get to, connect isolated communities, and cut pollution.
  • If we are to encourage people to come to our towns and beautiful countryside then they must be able to get here.
  • Free travel will be provided for under 18s and those in full time education.

3. Education and Skills

  • I will ensure widespread opportunities for training in green technologies and the creation of Green Jobs. This will enable the retrofitting of our homes and the building of the renewable technology the nation needs, and will ensure future prosperity for Teessiders.
  • All investment including education, economic regeneration, housing and transport,  should be focussed on improving the life chances of everyone.
  • Some areas such as Middlesbrough rank highest amongst all Local Authorities in England and Wales for income deprivation with over a third of children living in poverty. Alcohol misuse across Cleveland is 50% higher than the national average. Through collaborative working I will ensure education and skills provide a clear and effective pathway to a brighter future for all.

4. Housing

  • I will make funding available through retrofit schemes to bring all existing housing stock up to a high level (EPC level C).
  • This will ensure homes will require far less fuel to heat leaving people with more available income, and reducing our carbon footprint and reliance upon fossil fuels.
  • New properties must be built in line with population need – ensuring the homes that people need, in the locations that they want.
  • The construction industry must now play its part in protecting the natural environment and welfare of local residents. Housing must no longer be seen as a means to economic growth and profit for a few.

5. Regeneration

  • I will ensure the Tees Valley is a leader in tackling the cause of environmental problems, not just finding measures to deal with the symptoms.
  • We should use investment and innovation to revitalise our town centres and play host to a range of entertainment and leisure opportunities.
  • The Tees Valley has been earmarked for massive investment to drive forward technologies such as carbon capture and waste-to-energy (incineration of household waste). However, investment decisions in technological advances must be based on a proper assessment taking into account the long term as well as the short term view.
  • The inward investment into the Tees Valley must benefit everybody and must not damage our environment and nature.
  • The Tees Valley has a long history of heavy industry which harmed the health of people and had a catastrophic impact upon the natural environment. We must ensure that new ” green” technologies will genuinely bring about improvements in the present and future, to benefit the people of our region and elsewhere. We must enlist the expertise of those working within the academic, charitable and environmental sectors as well as big business, to ensure the health and priority of our area.
  • Community engagement should be central to all regeneration initiatives.

6. Improving Democracy & Transparency

  • I will bring forward reforms to the way the Tees Valley Combined Authority and all associated bodies are run. This will ensure that every decision made using the Mayoral powers is transparent, democratic, and in the best interests of the people of Teesside.
  • I will call for a more in depth investigation into the activities of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the South Tees Development Corporation, and Teesworks. The investigation must utilise powers of search and seizure, and must incorporate terms of reference which will ensure all evidence is examined.
  • The 28 recommendations resulting from the Independent Review into the Teesworks Joint Venture must be adopted across all the activities of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, South Tees Development Corporation and the Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Mayoral Development Corporations.
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