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EXCLUSIVE: Devolution deals expected to be announced tomorrow in the North East

Devolution set to arrive in the North East Credit: PA

ITV News Tyne Tees understands two devolution deals will be announced tomorrow - one for the Tees Valley combined authority, and one for the North East combined authority.

Political Correspondent Paul Brand has been told both will include an elected mayor - something that has been heavily debated and opposed by some council figures.

The Chancellor is expected to sign off the deals in a press call tomorrow, but Durham and Northumberland councils are understood to continue to have concerns about their rural authorities.

Some councils are calling this an 'agreement' rather than a 'deal', underscoring their reservations.


North East devolution talks 'move to the next stage'

The Angel of the North, Gateshead Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Plans for North East devolution are moving to the next stage of negotiations with the Government, according to the North East Combined Authority.

The proposals focus on the potential devolution of powers, funding and responsibilities relating to the economy, investment, transport, jobs and skills in the region.

An agreement would see the North East have a directly elected mayor, and would represent a major change to the way in which decisions affecting the region are made.

Councillor Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Combined Authority, said:

Talks today on a devolution offer from Government have been going well.

Reaching a deal takes time, but leaders have all agreed to move forward to the next stage of negotiations and are all determined to reach an agreement that is good for the North East.

Leaders will continue to seek further consultation with the public and other stakeholders and acceptable outcomes to the spending review and legislation currently before Parliament.

– Cllr Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Combined Authority

The North East Combined Authority was created by the seven local authorities of Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

Japan's UK ambassador to celebrate North East investment

Workers at Nissan Sunderland Credit: PA

Japan's UK ambassador will celebrate more than 30 years of investment in the North East at a gathering of the region's political and business leaders later.

The annual North-East Economic Forum (NEEF) will be held at the home of Sunderland AFC, the Stadium of Light.

HE Keiichi Hayashi, is expected to describe the relationship as the best example of Japanese investment in the UK and a model for the rest of the country.

Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton and Transport minister Andrew Jones will make contributions by video, along with Labour's shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn.

North East sees biggest rise in GCSE passes

Pupils at Durham Johnston School collect their GCSE results Credit: ITV

North-east England has seen the biggest year-on-year rise in the number of GCSE candidates receiving grade C or above, up 1.5% to 67.2%.

The number of students who achieved A* to C grades has increased 7.5 times more than at national level. In England, the number of candidates receiving grade C or above rose 0.2% to 69%

The number of North East students who achieved A* to A grades has risen 0.2% on 2014 to 17.6%. However, the region has the lowest rate of students achieving grades A* to A, alongside Yorkshire and Humber.

Nationally, the number of candidates who achieved A* to A grades fell by 0.1% on 2014 to 21%.


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.

North East unemployment falls by 11,000

Unemployment has fallen by 11,000 in the North East Credit: PA

Unemployment in the North East has fallen by 11,000, official figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 100,000 people were unemployed in the region between December and February.

The unemployment rate for the North East remains the highest in the UK, at 7.7%

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