Tees Valley mayor names cabinet

TEES VALLEY metro mayor Ben Houchen has made a number of cabinet appointments after chairing the first meeting of the combined authority.

The authority's first Annual General Meeting made more than 130 appointments to lead roles within both the authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr Bob Cook, leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, was confirmed as deputy mayor and vice-chair of the combined authority. Under the authority's new constitution, the position of deputy mayor will rotate annually between the leaders of the five member councils.

Cllr Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, was named cabinet member for transport.

Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, will take the brief for education, employment and skills.

Redcar & Cleveland leader Cllr Sue Jeffrey, who came second in the metro mayor election, will be cabinet member for investment and business growth.

David Budd, directly elected mayor of Middlesbrough, will be cabinet member for innovation, culture and tourism.

Paul Booth, chair of the Tees Valley Unlimited LEP, will also attend cabinet.

"I would like to thank all of the councillors, business and voluntary sector representatives who have stepped forward to support the Tees Valley's ambitions for the future. I look forward to working with them," Mayor Houchen said.

"We have taken control of our area with devolved powers and budgets from Westminster. The hard work starts here."