Ben Houchen was elected as the Conservative Mayor of the Tees Valley in May 2017. The Tees Valley area covers the five boroughs of Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Hartlepool.
As Mayor, Ben is implementing an ambitious agenda to increase economic growth and prosperity. He wants to create a strong local economy that provides good quality jobs, underpinned by an even stronger private sector. His personal commitments include: saving Teesside Airport; supporting businesses to grow; delivering the housing that the region needs; ensuring an effective structure for Cleveland Police; and securing protected food status for ‘The Parmo’ – a much loved local delicacy.
To support business growth Ben chairs the South Tees Development Corporation, which is redeveloping the former SSI steel works site in Redcar. He is creating a muli-million pound Access to Finance Fund to provide capital investment for small and medium-sized businesses. Ben is championing the area as a leader in innovative industrial technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage, and hydrogen trains.
Ben’s plan to create 20,000 jobs on Teesside over the next decade include lobbying for Teesport to be awarded Free Port status, to incentivise imports and exports in the region and take advantage of post-Brexit liberalisation of EU trade restrictions. Ben is Teesside born and bred. A qualified solicitor, he has worked for two local firms specialising in commercial litigation and employment law. In 2016 Ben founded an international sportswear business, which supplies clothing to amateur and professional clubs.
As Chief Executive he delivered an impressive programme of growth and company expansion. Since the election, Ben has stepped down from his position and is dedicating all of his time to his Mayoral role. Prior to becoming Mayor, Ben was a Councillor on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and led the Council’s opposition Conservative Group. In 2012 he stood as the Conservative parliamentary candidate in the Middleborough by-election, and in 2014 stood to become our region’s Member of the European Parliament. Ben lives in Yarm with his wife Rachel, a French teacher and assistant head teacher of a local secondary school.