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Business Minister Anna Soubry: "More important things" to concentrate on in the wake of Iain Duncan Smith resignation

The Business Minister Anna Soubry has told ITV Tyne Tees that there are "much more important things" for her to concentrate on in the wake of the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith.

He resigned at the weekend because of what he said were Treasury pressures to make cuts to benefits affecting disabled people.

Anna Soubry was asked the question by Tyne Tees reporter Rachel Bullock during her visit to Redcar, just over 6 months on from the closure of the SSI steelworks.

Ms. Soubry refused to comment any further on the matter, other than to say she was a "huge supporter" of seeing the UK stay in the EU.

RNLI called to help save stranded dog

The dog was rescued. Credit: Redcar RNLI

Redcar's RNLI lifeboat team have been called to help rescue a dog, which became stranded at the South Gare near the town.

The dog ran away from its owner and became stranded on a rocky outcrop as the tide began to come in.

The owner called the coastguard, and they arrived, with the inshore lifeboat team, to find that the dog had already been rescued by members of the public.

Two men who were in the area were able to reach the dog and carry it back to safety before the tide came in.

The dog is thought to be uninjured.

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Redcar MP: Nothing in budget for Teesside

Anna Turley - the Redcar MP - has responded to today's budget:

"There is nothing for Redcar, or Teesside.

I wanted to finally see action today from the Chancellor to support manufacturing and industry and deliver more skilled jobs but there was nothing.

There were generous cuts to business rates for small businesses and stamp duty on commercial properties but the cost will fall on local government whose budgets have already been decimated, so our local services will be cut even further.

The tax cuts for North Sea oil and gas also come too late to stem the tide of declining profits and lost jobs.

There were some flashy infrastructure announcements such as HS3 and northern motorway upgrades. Yet none of this came north of Leeds, and once again the Northern Powerhouse is exposed as an empty, meaningless slogan.

As the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said today, the Chancellor has to stop just putting a high-vis jacket and helmet on and actually start delivering on the infrastructure we need.

The Chancellor promised upgrades to the A66 and the A19 but warm words alone will not deliver these improved transport links."

– Anna Turley MP

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SSI steelworkers awarded compensation

SSI Steelworks Credit: ITV News

Former SSI steelworkers have been awarded a share of £6.25 million by an employment judge over lack of consultation when their plant in Redcar closed, according to the Community Union

A spokesperson says workers who were part of Community's claim will now receive from the government's Redundancy Payments Office their share of the award up to a maximum of 8 weeks’ pay, subject to statutory limits and deductions.

The headline figure would have been over £14m, but because SSI are bankrupt workers will only get the share that the Government pays.

A handful of the workers in Community's claim will need to await the outcome of the case being pursued by Unite.

There was no consultation which complied with specific requirements.

There wasn't any point in bringing a claim against SSI as, I take it, there is no money."

– Tribunal Judge Jeremy Hargrove

This is a deserved victory for our SSI members and it is only right and proper that the Tribunal found in our favour because of the way these workers were treated.

As the lead union in the claim the diligent preparation and hard work of our team of staff and lawyers has been rewarded today and our members will get what they are entitled to. This demonstrates the value of trade union membership.

However, as we have said before, this small victory will not compensate for the devastation from the end of steel making.

Today's judgement is not an end just a moment of welcome good news. In the coming days we will be supporting our members to access their share of the claim. Beyond that our work continues to secure a better future for the steel community on Teesside."

– Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community

First meeting of the Steel Council

The first Steel Council will meet today with government ministers, UK Steel and other representatives and trade unions, to stand up for the future of the industry.

The meeting will look at how to address long-term issues for the steel sector and propose steps to protect producers.

The GMB union says steel industry is vital to the UK, directly employing almost 18,000 people in production and contributing around £9.5bn to the economy.

Last year the SSI plant in Redcar shut with the loss of almost 2,000 jobs.

Prince Charles praises 'extraordinary resilience' of Redcar

Prince Charles has paid tribute to the "extraordinary resilience" of the people of Teesside, on a visit to Redcar today.

The Prince of Wales attended a meeting of the SSI Task Force, set up after the closure of the town's steelworks last autumn.

More than 1,000 former SSI and supply chain workers are now in new jobs or full-time training.

Watch Tom Sheldrick's report:

Prince Charles meets his 6-year-old 'mini-me'

Prince Charles meets his 'mini-me' Benjamin Cooper

The Prince of Wales met one of his biggest fans when he was introduced to a boy who insists on dressing just like him.

Six-year-old Benjamin Cooper studied the Royal Family at school and ever since has worn a suit to be just like Charles.

The Prince met Ben and his family as he arrived in Redcar for a visit to hear about the closure of the local steel plant.

He will meet members of the multi-agency SSI Task Force which was set up afterthe announcement last year that the historic Teesside plant was to shut with the loss of almost 2,000 jobs.

Shaking Ben's hand, who was accompanied by his parents, Elaine and Ian, and sister, Eve, the Prince laughed as they explained their son's admiration for him.

I like him because he was the smartest dressed when we studied them at school.

I like to dress smart so I can be like Charles.

– Benjamin Cooper

Mrs Cooper said Ben had been doing it for 18 months now and even dresses smartly for friends' parties.

"The present he asked for was a smart suit so he could be like the Prince," she said.

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