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The Tees Valley Mayoral Election: A Breakdown

The Tees Valley Mayoral Election is to be held on the 6th May 2021. The primary role of the Tees Valley Mayor is leading the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), which is a body that drives economic growth and job creation in the area. There has only been one previous election in 2017, and it was won by Ben Houchen.

Figure 1: Current mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, Conservatives

Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority

The TVCA was created in 2016, after a public consultation in 2015 concluded there was a necessity for greater devolved powers from Westminster to the local area.

The Mayor and TVCA powers and responsibilities include:

  • Setting budgets

  • Prioritise economic development

  • Transport

  • Infrastructure and adult skills training

  • Social care

  • Ambassador for the region to attract investment into the area

However, the Mayor and TVCA do not supersede the five local-council boroughs within the Tees Valley region.

Where does the area cover?

The Mayor and TVCA cover 5 areas:

  • Darlington

  • Hartlepool

  • Middlesbrough

  • Redcar and Cleveland

  • Stockton-On-Tees (with the headquarters of TVCA in Thornaby-On-Tees)

Figure 2: TVCA areas

Electoral System

The Mayor is elected using the Supplementary Vote (SV) system. The SV system allows voters to cast a first and second choice vote:

  • If a candidate receives more than half of all the first-choice votes, then they are elected.

  • If not, then the two candidates with the most first-choice votes go through to the second round. The one with the highest total of first and second choice votes wins.

Tees Valley Mayoral Election 2017

It is fair to say the first election result was a shock. Tees Valley is a traditional northern Labour stronghold, and the Labour candidate Sue Jeffrey was overwhelmingly favourite to win. The final result was very close, and the Conservative candidate Ben Houchen won.

Figure 3: TVCA 2017 mayoral election results

Tees Valley Mayoral Election 2021: Candidates

Ben Houchen (Conservatives)

His re-election campaign is mostly reliant on his previous record of delivering on promises made in his 2017 manifesto and continuing to improve and develop Tees Valley:

  • His biggest 2017 promise was to bring Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership which was completed in 2018. Has set out a 10 Year Rescue Plan to further improve the airport.

  • In 2020 he also pledged to seek government funding to purchase the former steel works sit in Redcar and plans for a logistics and manufacturing centre at Teesside Airport.

  • Has ‘direct access to Number 10 and key Government departments that can help the Tees Valley go further and faster to get the investment.’

Jessie Joe Jacobs (Labour)

She could be the first female Metro Mayor elected in the UK and these are her policies:

  • £1.5 million a year High Street Innovation Fund

  • Improve transport.

  • Develop a plan for better, greener and more affordable homes for the Tees Valley.

  • Good jobs for everyone:

  • New vocation centres in every borough to support people in finding their future job or vocation.

  • Improve digital localism.

  • Improve affordability of childcare.

  • Improve equality for women and the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Bring world class heritage and cultural attractions to the Tees Valley, including a leisure park and industrial heritage museum, protecting industrial structures and disused heritage buildings and repurposing them for public good.

  • Increase international investment, making Tees Valley the centre of the green industrial revolution and at the forefront of the social technological revolution including biotechnology, edu-tech and fintech.

Matthew Esam (Policy and News Analysis Associate)

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