Chair of Parliamentary committee asks Teesworks report author to answer questions

The chair of Parliament’s Business and Trade Committee has written to the author of an independent review into governance of the Teesworks project, asking whether she believes the panel had the powers or time to find evidence of corruption.

The letter from Ian Byrne MP was sent to Angie Ridgwell last week, but the committee agreed to publication of the letter today. It asks seven questions to Ms Ridgwell, who chaired an independent panel to investigate allegations of corruption at the regeneration project on the former Redcar steelworks site, along with issues of transparency and governance at Conservative mayor Ben Houchen’s Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA).

Published in January after a seven-month investigation, the Tees Valley Review was highly critical, saying decisions made in regards to Teesworks "do not meet standards expected when managing public funds", as well as making a total of 28 recommendations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Secretary of state Michael Gove, who commissioned the report last year, has given Lord Houchen six months to provide an update on the implementation of the recommendations, which the Tees Valley mayor has said he accepts “in full.”

General view of the current main entrance to the TeesworkS.General view of the current main entrance to the TeesworkS.
General view of the current main entrance to the TeesworkS.

Making reference to the report, Mr Byrne’s letter states the panel had “not been able to pursue all lines of evidence,” and asks if Ms Ridgwell would “recommend that other decisions should be reviewed?”

He also asks whether the panel was able to investigate transactions made between Teesworks Ltd “and related parties, such as family relatives of the joint venture partners.”

Contracts on the site worth millions have been awarded to companies run by relatives of joint venture partners Chris Musgrave and Martin Corney. Messrs Musgrave and Corney were given 90 per cent of Teesworks Ltd, a company which was initially a 50-50 partnership between themselves and the public body, South Tees Development Corporation. The share transfer sparked allegations of corruption, however the investigation said it found “no evidence” of corruption or illegality.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Byrne’s letter concludes by asking whether Ms Ridgwell believes her panel “had the competence, powers and time to secure evidence of and evaluate any potential evidence of illegality or corruption?”, and gives her until April 2 to respond.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.