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Treasury responds to IPPR report

"Rebalancing the economy and creating a northern powerhouse of jobs, investment and prosperity is a key part of our long term economic plan.

"We have made great strides and already created Transport for the North to speak with one voice to government on the big decisions to benefit the entire region.

"It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity and enables growth and that's why we will be setting out our strategy for transport in the North in the next few weeks."

– HM Treasury spokesperson

What would the 'Transport for North' involve?

A thinktank is calling for the Chancellor to use this month's budget to give £15 billion to the North East.

They want to create a 'Transport for North' network, imitating the existing Transport for London.

But what would the 'Transport for North' involve?

IPPR have set out a 10-year blueprint for what they think Transport for North (TfN) should do:

  • Appoint a Transport Commissioner for the North, who would be accountable to the public and be a figurehead for developing northern transport.
  • Move towards a contactless, cross-boundary ticketing system - using mobile phones and contactless payments for journeys across different modes of transport.
  • Manage rail franchises, rolling stock and stations in an attempt to reduce overcrowded services and platforms.

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Richard Branson: commuters should not be worried about rising rail fares

Sir Richard Branson says rail commuters in the region should not be concerned about rising prices on the East Coast mainline.

Speaking on a visit to Newcastle this lunchtime he told ITV Tyne Tees that concerns about lack of competition and increases in fares were unfounded.

Virgin Rail and Stagecoach took over the running of the East Coast Franchise this week. They already run services on the West Coast line. There have been concerns from the Competition and Marketing Authority about lack of competition in some areas driving prices up.

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Pictures: Richard Branson visits Newcastle

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson is in Newcastle to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The owner of the Virgin business empire is at an event for young people at the Northern Stage theatre.

It comes just two days after a consortium involving Virgin took over train services on the East Coast mainline.

Sir Richard Branson in Newcastle Credit: ITV

It is three years since Virgin Money took over Northern Rock, the failed Newcastle-based bank.

Sir Richard with Brian Souter Credit: ITV

Sir Richard Branson amused the press when he pointing out that Stagecoach co-founder Brian Souter usually wears red trainers and that he had worn his to match.

Joking around on stage Credit: ITV
Virgin Start-Up event Credit: ITV

Richard Branson looking to inspire North East young

Richard Branson. Credit: PA

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson will be in Newcastle later to try and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The owner of the Virgin business empire will be attending an event for young people at the Northern Stage theatre.

It comes just two days after a consortium involving Virgin took over train services on the East Coast mainline.

It is three years since Virgin Money took over Northern Rock, the failed Newcastle-based bank.

Gateshead Council confirms cuts including job losses

The council has voted to back proposals including 193 job losses

Gateshead Council has confirmed a budget for the next year, which will include 193 job losses and an increase in council tax.

The authority said all libraries will stay open, although some may relocate to new buildings and have shorter opening hours.

Full council backed the proposals. The council has lost nearly half its central government funding over the last five years.

“Setting the Budget this year has been a huge challenge. These are tough times and we’ve had some hard decisions to make.

"Since 2010, government funding grants to the Council have been cut by 45% and we’ve had to find savings of nearly £110 million. But despite significantly reduced resources, we still have an ambitious vision for Gateshead and we’ll continue to work hard to achieve it.”

– Cllr Mick Henry, Gateshead Council

'Painful decisions' over cuts to be made in Gateshead

Gateshead Civic Centre Credit: Gateshead Council

Gateshead Council will finalise cuts today at a meeting of the full council.

If ratified, 193 jobs will be cut, bringing the total to almost 2,000 job losses in the last 5 years, and £20 a year will be added to council tax bills for most households.

The authority has lost nearly half its funding from central Government, and says its making painful decisions to try to protect services.

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