A report into claims of “corruption, wrongdoing and illegality” at the Teesworks site is now expected mid-December.

An investigation was launched in June amid allegations of cronyism and corruption surrounding finances at the Redcar site. The claims are vehemently denied by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen who requested the inquiry to “nip allegations of wrongdoing in the bud”.

It was first reported the panel was expected to publish its findings in the summer, then by the end of October. Mr Houchen has now confirmed the report is expected mid-December 2023, but noted it may not be published until January.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The government commissioned the review which is also looking into Tees Valley Combined Authority’s (TVCA) oversight of the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks Joint Venture. TVCA said it has provided more than 700 documents to the panel and answered more than 185 questions.

Mr Houchen said the TVCA will be able to check over the document for “factual errors” before it is published.

“The biggest issue isn’t the outcome because we haven’t done anything wrong,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service. “If we had done something wrong the information would have been passed to the police.”

He said he was “frustrated” at the “months wasted” and confirmed there has been a “drop-off” in interest from potential investors. “Even when when the investigation comes out and finds there was no illegality, it will leave a stain on Teesside’s reputation,” he said.

Cllr Chris McEwan, Labour’s candidate to run for Tees Valley Mayor in next year’s election, said: “It’s disappointing to hear that this report is being delayed. People deserve answers to these questions in full and as soon as possible.”

The Teesworks project is aimed at regenerating Redcar’s former SSI steelworks site and is led by Mr Houchen.