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North East culture campaign launches 15-year vision

A campaign has been launched to make the North East the UK's leading cultural capital.

The 'Case for Culture' manifesto outlines the region's cultural vision for the next 15 years. It says investment in culture will benefit people, places and the economy in the North East, helping to build and sustain a better future for the entire region.

The 'Case for Culture' manifesto has been launched by the North East Culture Partnership, which is formed of 12 local authorities alongside arts and cultural organisations, sport and tourism, and businesses and educational organisations.

The partnership aims to spread the benefits of arts, culture and heritage across the region by reaching an extra 500,000 people per year, boosting economic growth and job creation.

It is hoped the campaign will increase access to culture for young people across the North East.

The partnership says they will achieve their aims by increasing the planned funding from £100 million to at least £300 million over the next five years.

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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MPs urge National Park to approve mine plans

The mine would be built south of Whitby Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Three MPs have published a joint letter in support of plans to create a potash mine near Whitby in North Yorkshire, describing it as a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'.

Fellow Conservatives Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) and Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) have joined the Labour MP Anna Turley (Redcar) in highlighting what they say are the benefits of the project.

The plan, put forward by mining company Sirius Minerals, was approved in April by Redcar and Cleveland councillors. It will go before members of the North York Moors Park Planning Authority on Tuesday 30th June.

The York Potash project, as it is known, would include a mine south of Whitby and a transportation system to take the material to a processing plant at Wilton on Teesside. It would cost £1.7bn and would be the UK's first new potash mine for forty years.

The mine would be situated on the edge of the national park. Opponents say it would blight the landscape and argue the area should be protected from development of this nature.

In their letter to park authority members, the MPs urge them to 'grasp the opportunity and approve the planing application for the benefit of all'.

The York Potash project brings with it the chance to secure a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of people in our area.

A positive decision will bring enormous social and economic benefits to the area by creating jobs, improving training and education opportunities for young people, providing community facilities and by generating more wealth in the economy.

– Robert Goodwill MP, Anna Turley MP, Kevin Hollinrake MP

North East unemployment falls again

Unemployment has fallen again in the North East Credit: PA

There has been another fall in unemployment in the North East.

In the three months between January and March, the number of people out of work fell by 7,000 to 96,000 people. That figure represents 7.5% of the workforce.

Despite the fall, the rate of unemployment in the North East remains the highest in the UK. The national rate stands at 5.5%

Hitachi train factory 'on track' to open in 2015

The construction of a train factory in County Durham, where hundreds of new train carriages will be built for Intercity and ScotRail contracts, is on target to be completed later this year.

Hundreds of train carriages will be built at the site in Newton Aycliffe

More than 700 people will work at the plant in Newton Aycliffe, where hundreds of new train carriages will be built.

Today the final part of the track will be installed, connecting the factory to the rail network for the first time.

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Tonight's Around The House

Around The House, tonight at 10.40pm on ITV. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Our political correspondent Paul Brand is joined by four new election candidates for a lively debate on immigration and the economy.

Paul Brand and guests (l to r): Lib Dem Julie Pörksen (on screen), Tory Will Goodhand, Lee Sherriff (Labour) and Phillip Broughton (UKIP) Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Around The House is on ITV tonight (Thursday 5 March) at 10.40pm.

Osborne promises 50,000 North East jobs in five years

George Credit: PA

George Osborne is expected to outline ambitious plans to create 50,000 new jobs in the North East over the next five years.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will visit businesses across the region today to set out the government's long-term plan, which he said would boost the regional economy by £6billion.

He will also promise more investment in transport in the North East.

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325 job losses at Wonga due to restructuring

325 job losses at Wonga due to restructuring Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Wonga has announced restructuring which expected to lead to the loss of 325 jobs.

The payday lender currently employs around 950 people and said the losses come as it aims to, "refocus on its consumer businesses."

Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market. Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce. We appreciate how difficult this period will be for all of our colleagues and we’ll support them throughout the consultation process.

– Andy Haste, Chairman, Wonga

The move is hoped to save the company £25 million over the next two years. Wonga said costs at the company tripled between 2012-2014.

There will now be a 30 day consultation period for those who are at risk of losing their jobs.

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