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'Invest in the north of England' PM tells south-east Asia

Prime Minister David Cameron also visited the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister has urged south-east Asian investors to pump money into the cities of the "Northern Powerhouse".

As part of his four day trade mission to the region, David Cameron told investors in Singapore that he wanted them to look at the UK "in a new way" and consider cities like Leeds and Manchester for their plans rather than just London.

I really would encourage you to look at Britain in a new way...

We want to re-balance our country and we want Singaporean and other south-east Asian investors to help us do it. That is what the Northern Powerhouse is all about.

From the North Sea to the Singapore Strait, let's get more trade flowing.

– David Cameron

PM welcomes new of North East jobs and investment

A Malaysian company has announced plans to create a rubber recycling plant in the North East, creating up to ninety jobs.

Petra Group is investing £12m to produce what it calls 'green rubber'. A site for the facility has yet to be confirmed.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister and business people continue a trade mission to South East Asia, to encourage investment in Northern England.

Petra Group's announcement that it will open its pioneering manufacturing to the North East of England, creating up to 90 jobs, is testament to the skills and expertise the North East has to offer.

– David Cameron

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North East MP urges bus company to introduce weekly child ticket

Tom Blenkinsop MP has urged bus firm Arriva to look at introducing a child version of the weekly ticket Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images

A Teesside MP has written to the bus company Arriva urging them to look at introducing a child version of the weekly ticket.

The firm has weekly tickets available for Adults on Teesside from £19.50 but there is currently no equivalent offer available for children.

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said:

As it is currently the school holidays, hundreds of families across my constituency will be looking to utilise Arriva’s bus services to travel around this and the surrounding area. However, the lack of any sort of weekly travel ticket for children is off-putting for commuters as it leads to spiralling travel costs, particularly for parents with more than one child.

I am aware that such tickets are available for adults using your bus services. Therefore, have written to Arriva to enquire whether they have any plans to introduce a weekly ticket for children across all their services to reduce the financial burden on parents and to make travelling on public transport an economically viable alternative for families in my constituency.

– Tom Blenkinsop MP, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

Newcastle City Council approves plans for £45 million refurbishment of the Civic Centre

Credit: Newcastle City Council

The cabinet of Newcastle City Council has approved plans to borrow £45 million to be spent on the refurbishment of the Civic Centre.

The council says improving the Grade II* listed Newcastle landmark would enhance it for future generations as well as creating a more efficient workplace for council staff.

It also claims energy savings, reduced maintenance bills and additional income will more than cover the costs of borrowing the money – including all interest charges on the loan.

The council says failing to invest in the building would cost taxpayers £35.3 million for basic repairs and maintenance to deal with the effects of wear and tear on the ageing structure.

Independent City Councillor Marc Donnelly, of Westerhope, said: "I am shocked and appalled at these proposals" and suggested the true cost would be near £90 million.

Dozens of steel jobs to go at Tata plant on Teesside

Twenty-five jobs are to go at the TATA Steel plant at Skinningrove on Teesside.

The company say the decision has been made due to a drop in customer demand, but it is hoped there will be no compulsory redundancies or loss of shifts.

Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The site employs more than 350 people, with over 1000 employed at further sites in Redcar, Lackenby and Hartlepool.

A consultation is now underway.

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Hartlepool United sold and Chairman steps down

Hartlepool United's new owners haven't been revealed Credit: PA Images

Hartlepool United have tonight confirmed that the club has been sold. It's been owned by the firm Independent Oilfield Rentals (IOR) since 1997.

They say the decision to sell is in the club's best interests.

Meanwhile current Chairman Ken Hodcroft has also stepped aside in the move.

The club's new owners haven't been revealed, although a statement will be released on Monday.

IOR released the following statement a short time ago:

For approximately 18 years IOR have owned Hartlepool United but today they can announce that new owners will be taking over the Club and Ken Hodcroft will step down as Chairman from today.

IOR believe this will be in the best interests for taking the Club forward into hopefully some exciting years ahead.

IOR would like to thank everybody for working together from January onwards to pull off ‘The Great Escape’ at the end of last season, including all members of staff and particularly the fans who gave their full support to the Club and IOR through what was a very critical period for the Club."

– Hartlepool United

The club has said a further and more detailed statement will be made on Monday, June 22.

Tata Steel goes to ACAS to try to solve dispute

Tata Steel UK goes to ACAS to try to solve pension dispute Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Tata Steel UK says it's approached the conciliation service ACAS to try to resolve a pension dispute wth its workforce.

The company has sites across the North East, at Hartlepool, Skinningrove, Lackenby, Darlington, York and Blaydon.

A one day strike is planned for later this month. Tata says it's facing a projected shortfall of more than £2 billion pounds this year. The Unite union says it's provoking the biggest crisis in the steel industry for a generation.

Jobs go at bio-refinery on Teesside

Twenty-two jobs could go at a bio-refinery on Teesside.

Ensus UK employs just under a hundred people at its site in Wilton.

The plant has been off line since February due to what the company describes as 'continuing adverse market conditions across the European bioethanol industry.'

Ensus says that job reductions may be necessary across all areas in order to reduce losses and ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

Grant Pearson, Commercial Director of Ensus UK said: “No decisions have yet been taken and all options aimed at avoiding compulsory redundancies or minimising the number of employees affected will be explored during consultation with employees and their representatives over the next four to five weeks.”

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