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£300m investment for North East companies

Nick Clegg announces major investment for the North East economy

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced £300m of investment for companies in the North East.

The money comes from the Regional Growth Fund, and businesses in the region are being invited to bid for a share.

Nick Clegg made the announcement today (Friday) during a visit to DUCO Ltd in Walker, Newcastle.

The offshore manufacturing company successfully bid for £3.6m in a previous round, enabling the firm to create 168 jobs.

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Clegg to outline free school meal plans

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced the Government plans to provide free school meals for infants in England.

Here is a segment of the speech the Liberal Democrat leader will make in Glasgow on Wednesday:

From next September we’ll give every child in reception, year 1 and year 2 a healthy lunch every day – saving families more than £400 per year, per child.

For the Liberal Democrats, this is a first step: my ambition is to provide free school meals for all primary school children. Another reason we want to get into Government again next time round.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, have made it clear that their priority is to help some families over others, with a tax break for married couples. A tax break for some, funded through the taxes of others. That tells you everything you need to know about their values.

We, however, will help all families in these tough times, not just the kind we like best, by helping their young children get the best possible start in life – and that tells you everything about ours.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

Clegg announces free school meals for infants

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that every child in infant school will receive a free school lunch.

Under a new Government-funded scheme, children in reception, year 1 and year 2 at schools in England will be given a hot, healthy school lunch to help save families more than £400 a year per child.

Universal free school meals for primary school pupils were a key recommendation in a recent review of school food produced independently for the Department for Education.

Pilots took place across the country, including St Godric's RC Primary in Durham, which found that where all children had been given a free school dinner, students were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere and more likely to eat vegetables at lunchtime.

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Fracking row: Nick Clegg defends North East

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the North East after senior Conservative Peer Lord Howell said parts of the region were "desolate" and good areas for fracking for underground gas.

Mr Clegg said the North East could become a national hub for excellence in the new green economy. He said the region has some "profound economic and social challenges" but has huge promise as well, which had been recognised by investors like Nissan

Full report: Nick Clegg visits the North East

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been visiting companies in County Durham where almost 300 jobs have been created or safeguarded with money from the Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Clegg met young apprentices at CAV Aerospace in Consett and launched a Liberal Democrat campaign to create a million new jobs nationwide.

Watch Derek Proud's report here:

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