Live updates

Tata steel: "We are determined to find a buyer for our assets"

TATA steel sign: the company say finding a buyer for their assets - including Hartlepool - is a priority

Steel giant Tata blames "structural weaknesses" in the UK for its decision to sell its assets - including the Hartlepool Pipe Mill site.

Bimlendra Jha, chief executive of Tata Steel UK told MP's he was "determined" to find a credible buyer, but stressed the government "will probably have to do more" to help secure a sale.

He went on to say that there was no set deadline for selling the company's loss-making assets, but made it clear that Tata could not continue to "bleed" indefinitely.

Jha, who oversaw the sale of Tata's Scunthorpe works earlier this month, said there is no "dead drop" deadline for the sale of Tata's steel assets, but stressed that is a "matter of urgency" for the company.

"We would not be selling the business if we were not losing money," said Mr Jha, adding that the UK had structural weaknesses around energy prices and business rates.

He said that if energy prices were the same as in Germany for example, Tata would be £40 million better off.

SSI Chief claims 'it would be possible to resume operation of SSI UK'

Win Viriyaprapaikit, right, with the Prince of Wales, centre, and Derek Thomas, Project Director of SSI Steel Credit: PA

Win Viriyaprapaikit, the president and chief executive of SSI, has told the Bangkok Post "it would be possible to resume operation of SSI UK", in order to generate revenue for the loss-making subsidiary.

SSI UK employed over 2,000 workers at its Redcar site, before closing operations at the beginning of October 2015.

Community Union, which represents Redcar steel workers, has said that Mr Win should come to the UK to explain his intentions for the North-East:

SSI was quick enough to turn their back and leave behind a devastated community. The least Mr Win could do is come to the UK and explain what his intentions are. That site cannot be allowed to rot for years, it must be returned to useful economic activity which brings the decent jobs back that this struggling community so desperately needs.

As the union for SSI workers Community has made it clear that we will continue to support and campaign for our members who have been affected until they return to employment and the community recovers. We know this won’t happen overnight but what don’t need is a company that abandoned us blocking Teesside’s chances to recover.

– Paul Warren, former SSI worker and Regional Organiser for Community

Advertisement

Could you get all your work done in six hours?

In Sweden just 1% of the country's employees work more than a 50 hour week and they are currently 15% more productive than us Brits.

Credit: PA

So what is their secret? Perhaps their experimentation with the six hour day is one reason.

In Gothenburg it's being trialled at a Hospital and Care Home and it has already been in full swing at a Toyota Garage.

Vote in our poll:

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

  • Watch ITV's Tonight programme 'Britain: Shirkers or Workers? at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 28 to find out more.

Newcastle Building Society announces 100 new jobs

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle Building Society has announced it will be taking on an extra 100 staff as part of £10m investment programme.

The new jobs will involve a variety of roles, including IT, mortgage operations and customer services. The building society also plans to open several new branches, and upgrade others.

Two new city centre based advice centres will also be opened in Newcastle.

Advertisement

North East tops table for Christmas Day workers

More people will be working on Christmas Day in the North East than anywhere else in the country, per head of population, according to a new report.

Health workers are among those expected to work on Christmas Day. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive/PA Images

The total number of Christmas Day workers in the UK will be more than 900,000, according to the TUC.

The research suggests that this will be 42,000 more people compared with three years ago.

Nurses, doctors, chefs, bar staff, security guards, police officers and clergy are among those who will be on duty as normal.

The TUC said the biggest proportion of employees set to work on December 25th are in the North East (one in 28), East Midlands (one in 30) and South West (one in 31).

"Christmas Day is a special day that millions of us spend with our nearest and dearest. So we should all spare a thought for the people who will be hard at work while we're opening our presents, tucking into the turkey and relaxing with our families. Many on duty on Christmas Day will be on low pay, especially in sectors like hospitality and social care."

– Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, TUC

Debt still a real problem in North East, charity warns

Many North East residents are still facing a daily struggle with debt despite the UK’s gradual economic recovery and a fall in the number of people seeking advice, a leading debt charity has warned.

Figures released today by StepChange Debt Charity show that 4348 people in the North East area called its helpline for advice in the first half of 2015.

The release of the figures coincide with StepChange's new report, Navigating the New Normal, which shows that more than 1 in 5 Britons are currently showing at least one sign of financial difficulty and 2.6m of them are in severe problem debt. Of those 2.6m, 73% suffered at least one ‘income shock’ in the last year, such as job loss or a reduction in hours.

People on low and middle incomes 20 times more likely to fall into problem debt than those with higher earnings Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The charity says that people on low and middle incomes are particularly at risk after an income shock, with the combination of having little to no savings and an unresponsive welfare system leaving them unable to meet their basic costs. Shocks to their income often see them turn to credit to cope, which makes them 20 times more likely to fall into problem debt.

The report comes after the latest Bank of England figures showed the highest annual increase in borrowing on credit cards and personal loans for nine years, sparking fears of a return towards the high levels of unmanageable credit seen in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

Everyone faces ups and downs in life, but more than 11m people in Britain are now experiencing some financial difficulty and a quarter of those are in severe problem debt. North East is no exception and although the economy is beginning to recover, millions of households remain vulnerable to shocks to their income over the next year and many could find they have no alternative but to turn to credit to cope, which can quickly make the problem much worse. Debt can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, including sleepless nights, anxiety and mental and physical health problems with knock-on effects for their families. We would urge anyone who is experiencing debt problems to call us for free, impartial debt advice and take that first step as early as they possibly can.

– Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive, StepChange Debt Charity
Load more updates