Category: Business

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Houchen waves goodbye to PD Ports

Scott Hunter

PD Ports is no longer up for sale. The Financial Times is reporting this afternoon that Brookfield Asset Management Inc has taken the company, whose core business is at Teesport, off the market. The paper also reports this as a blow to Ben Houchen’s ambitions. Which it is. Little information about the dispute between Brookfield […]

Who runs Teesworks? Houchen’s blunder

Scott Hunter

It’s 28 July 2020, and Ben Houchen is making a presentation at a Tees Valley Business Club event. The South Tees Development Corporation (the Corporation), the first of its kind outside of London and responsible for 4,500 acres of ex-industrial development land, is being rebranded as Teesworks, he tells his audience. He also uses the […]

What are the benefits of nuclear energy for the UK?

Chloe Davies

The British government has recently announced new measures to cut the cost of generating nuclear power in the UK. A new funding model set out by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is aimed at incentivising investment in the UK’s nuclear power infrastructure. The new model is an integral part of the government’s plan for carbon neutrality […]

Ben Houchen’s Teesport pickle

David Walsh

Oh dear. Why does history carry on repeating itself? It seems this is particularly true when it comes to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. Only last week I wrote of him stepping into dangerous waters of which he apparently knows little, with an ambition to become the promoter of a scheme for the Tees Valley […]

Another ‘levelling up’ letdown: Leamside Line snubbed in rail plan

North East Bylines

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have today unveiled plans to modernise rail connections in the Integrated Rail Plan.  However, the mothballed Leamside Rail Line which runs from Gateshead, through Washington, Penshaw, Fencehouses, West Rainton, Belmont and Shincliffe before merging with the East Coast Main Line at Ferryhill, was not included.  The campaign to re-open the line has […]

Teesside Stagecoach strikes suspended as members ballot on new pay offer

North East Bylines

Strikes by bus workers employed by Stagecoach on Teesside have been suspended following an improved pay offer. The strikes scheduled for Thursday 18 November, Saturday 20 November and Monday 22 November have all been called off to allow members to ballot on the improved pay offer. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a potential breakthrough in the dispute. […]

No VAT cut to your energy bill: what you need to know

Chloe Davies

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his 2021 budget that there would be no VAT cut to household energy bills. This news came as a blow to millions of households who have seen a sharp rise in their energy bills this autumn.  As winter draws closer, energy consumers across the country are growing increasingly worried about […]

My energy firm is bust: we needed more ‘Rough’

Peter Benson

Sadly, my energy provider has gone bust, It was Pure Planet, a 100% green energy provider. It’s the 13th Energy provider to go broke. I have been switched to Shell.  Another provider serving 1.7 million is also reported to be in financial difficulties. Some of these firms might have survived if the UK had invested to […]


Wetherspoons’ boss loses out because of Brexit

Peter Benson

I fear I could be suffering from Schadenfreude, as I find myself somewhat unable to show empathy for the boss and biggest shareholder of Wetherspoons pub chain, Tim Martin. Brexit promoting Tim Martin must take some of the blame for the current crises in food, energy, labour and logistics, that the country is still reeling from. He […]


NI, GB, EU and why in the name of god this stuff matters when it shouldn’t…

Bill Corcoran

I was in Malta last week. A surreal experience with a Mediterranean climate, English spoken, fish’n’chips (and mushy peas!!) in a posh café in Valletta. In conversations with the friendly Maltese, the prevailing words, uttered quietly, once the polite language about shared history, culture and friendship had been done – “but Brexit….”; as if referring […]

Brexit crisis continues with bus driver shortages

Yvonne Wancke

Bus routes and services are experiencing disruption across the country, particularly in the North East. This is a knock on effect from the HGV crisis as bus drivers are being ‘poached’ by haulage bosses for hugely increased wages. The reasons for the bus driver shortages Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon, chairman of the North East […]


High wage economy: a response to Boris Johnson

James Sheerin

It’s not that a high wage, high productivity economy is a bad idea. It’s what we desperately need to improve the lot of everyone in our broken society. It’s the bare-faced insincerity of Boris Johnson, the man who dreamed up the argument, perhaps even as he spoke to Andrew Marr last Sunday, as a way […]

Michael Gove’s extraordinary tale of Teesside at the Tory Party Conference

Scott Hunter

Are those beer goggles you’re wearing, Mr Gove? Michael Gove visited the site of the South Tees Development Corporation in late September. When he spoke of that experience at the to the party faithful on Monday, many may have been enthralled by what he had to say. Many on Teesside, meanwhile, were left absolutely speechless.  […]


Haulage: a perspective from Poland

North East Bylines

Gregor Gowans lives in Poland and is a journalist at trans.INFO. North East Bylines interviewed him to find out first-hand about lorry driver shortages and related matters. Gregor confirmed that there is indeed a lorry-driver shortage in Britain and throughout Europe, including Poland. But, he stressed, it is: “emphatically not true that there are empty […]

Tees Valley: Houchen helps those that help themselves

Scott Hunter

The shortage of HGV drivers continues to dominate the headlines, with Boris Johnson telling the world that the whole point of Brexit was to do away with the low-wage/high-immigration economy that we are living with and instead to train British workers to do higher skilled jobs, thus creating a high-wage/low-immigration economy. Time to look at […]

Is Ben Houchen getting cold feet about Teesside Airport?

Scott Hunter

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the airline industry. So, the news that the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) recently provided Teesside Airport with a £10 million bailout came as no surprise. Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, rightly pointed out at the time that this type of measure had been necessary for regional airports […]

It’s colder up north: a winter of discontent beckons

Peter Benson

Every winter we take the cold weather for granted. However, this year it’s going to cost us all so much more in heating bills. On 1 October gas and electricity prices go up by 12%. How many of us can really afford all these prices hikes, along with fuel and food prices rocketing, all largely […]

Simon Clarke says shortages are across Europe and not caused by Brexit

Yvonne Wancke

Today Simon Clarke, Treasury Minister and MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said, on Radio 4 Today that the fuel shortages are not unique to the UK: “The idea that this is just a British problem is fundamentally wrong.“ He claims that it is a problem shared across Europe, specifically mentioning Germany and Poland. […]