Northumberland County Council says its goal is to safeguard jobs.
“We are simply having informal discussions with a range of potential partners on how we can deliver services more efficiently...but we need to be clear that this is only one of many options we are considering."
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The Heritage Lottery Fund has given North Tyneside Council £164,300 towards structural surveys and paint analysis on St Mary's Lighthouse.
The plan would leave steelworkers worse off in retirement - but not as worse off as those in other pension schemes.
Ministers are considering changes to pension laws in an attempt to persuade Tata abandon its planned sell-off.