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Friday 24 September

I met with Julie Danks, the Managing Director of the Council and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall for our regular catch up early in the week. It's always a useful way to discuss emerging issues and plan forthcoming business and the week ahead.

Julie Danks joined me on Wednesday as we reviewed the Tees Valley Combined Authority's (TVCA) Cabinet papers ahead of the meeting on Friday. It's a busy agenda with updates on the airport, freeport, the TVCA's Medium Term Financial Plan for 2021/22 as well as TVCA governance issues.

On Wednesday afternoon full Council met at the Tabernacle. During the busy meeting there were questions from both the public and Members and several motions were also considered.

Councillors from across the country came together virtually on Thursday to attend the Local Government Authority's City Region Board. This board meets regularly to discuss growth, transport infrastructure, skills and wider public service reform. This month's agenda saw us look closely at the Government's Levelling Up agenda as well as employment and skills.

On Friday I attended the TVCA Cabinet meeting before meeting with Siobhan McArdle, Director of The Strategy House, who has recently taken over from former Sabic chairman, Paul Booth, as the Tees Valley's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)'s chair. The LEP supports the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority by working with the wider business community and other partners to create growth, investment and jobs in the area. After a few recent attempts to meet were postponed over the summer it was good to welcome her to the role, hear her ideas and plans for the LEP. I look forward to working with her in the future.

Throughout the week I also caught up with some of the political group leaders from across the Council to brief them on relevant updates and the work we are doing across the Borough.

After another disappointing home defeat against Blackpool last weekend, I'm hoping Saturday's away fixture at Reading may be much more positive and the lads can secure a win to break their recent spell of lacklustre performances. The optimism of the early season's performances has really petered out and the team need to put together a good sequence of results to regain some momentum.