North East devolution: is it time to think again?
As Scots prepare to vote in the independence referendum, opinions differ on whether the North East should look again at devolution
As the North East's three new MEPs were welcomed into the European Parliament, UKIP's representatives turned their backs.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne today set out the government’s vision for what he calls a "northern economic powerhouse".
The Chancellor spoke as he welcomed the publication of a report on the future of the northern economy by the city regions of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
The report – "One North: Superconnected Cities" – sets out a vision for the economy of the North of England for the next 15 years and includes plans for greatly improved rail connection between Newcastle and other major cities. While welcoming today's report, the Chancellor George Osborne made no commitment to accepting or funding all of its findings or demands. However he promised that the government will take today’s report and work on delivering its "component parts".
– George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
"There is a prize that awaits the north of England. If we work together, bring our cities together, invest in future transport and skills and science, we can build a Northern Powerhouse. The prize is worth fighting for: adding over £44 billion to the economy of the North – in real terms, over £1,600 for each person living here. I have today set out the pathway to that northern powerhouse. Let us walk it together.”
– Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council
"One North is a demonstration that the great northern cities can work together to shape transport plans which would transform the economic competitiveness of the north - linking people to jobs, goods to customers and our businesses to international markets. Ensuring that Newcastle and the north east are part of an integrated approach to transport is essential to delivering our vision for economic growth in the region.”
Five cities in the north of England, including Newcastle, have combined forces to draw up plans which would transform the rail network in the region.
The "One North: Superconnected Cities" plan has been presented to the Chancellor, George Osborne, today.
It is the result of an alliance between councils in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.
If adopted the 15-year plan would make journeys between those cities up to 55% faster - and would improve Newcastle's links with ports and airports.
It would also deliver new trains running on a dedicated 125mph trans-Pennine rail route.
Leeds and Sheffield are among cities in the north of England which will unveil a £15 billion plan to improve road and rail connections in the region.
The joint One North report will include plans for a new 125mph inter-city rail link, faster links and better access to ports and airports.
It has been developed by five cities - Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
It comes after George Osborne said faster links could create a "northern global powerhouse".
The report will be presented to the chancellor in Manchester later.
Virgin Money has announced that it will create 200 new jobs, 120 of which will be based in the North East.
The announcement was made earlier today when the Chancellor, George Osborne, visited Virgin Money's site in Gosforth, Newcastle. The visit also included a tour of the bank's high street branch in Newcastle city centre.
Virgin Money bought Northern Rock from the Government in 2011. As part of that deal, Virgin Money will pay a further £154.5 million to the Treasury.
Virgin Money has announced that it will create 200 jobs, 120 of which will be based in the North East.
The announcement was made earlier today when the Chancellor, George Osborne, visited Virgin Money's site in Newcastle.
It's being reported that former TV presenter Selina Scott has been approached by the Conservative Party to put her name forward to replace William Hague as MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has dedicated the forthcoming Premier League season to John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who died on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
Mr Alder and Mr Sweeney were killed when the flight came down in eastern Ukraine last week as they travelled to watch their team play in New Zealand.
He said: "None of us would be sitting here without the fans.
"Owners and managers come and go, as do players, but the fans are always there, and these two guys in particular, to go to the lengths that they did to get out here, has brought home just how important supporters are to us.
"Sometimes when you lose lives in that manner, it puts into context what we do.
"This season we want to give their families something to remember them by, by having a successful season."
Pardew also thanked the Sunderland fans who put their usual rivalry to one side and have now raised more than £23,000 in tribute to Mr Sweeney and Mr Alder.
"A lot is made of the rivalry between the two cities, and of course that is there," he said.
"But I would like to thank all the Sunderland fans who have paid tribute and helped raise a staggering amount already.
"I am very proud of Sunderland Football Club for the way they have conducted themselves and I want to thank them."
Newcastle face Sydney FC on Tuesday in their opening fixture in the southern hemisphere, and Pardew has vowed to play a strong team to help honour the two fans.
He said: "It's important we represent ourselves in the right manner, especially after losing John and Liam - our supporters who were travelling out here.
"We have to conduct ourselves well on and off the pitch and get some strong results.
"That is what they would have wanted and that is what we want, so in memory of those guys in particular, we want this to be a successful tour.
"We have to honour these guys in the right manner because it does mean a lot to us. Their tragic loss has hurt the group.
"On Tuesday, I will be playing a very strong side. That is only right and fair in light of what's happened."
On the 18th September, people north of the border will decide if Scotland will become an an independent country, or remain part of the UK.
Ten years ago, the North East was preparing to vote in its own referendum, on whether we should establish our own form of regional government.
In the end, the people of our region gave a resounding 'no' to plans for an elected North East assembly.
A decade on, Helen Ford investigates whether there is any appetite for devolution now? Watch her report here: