The recession has partly been brought on by a 3% fall in the construction sector, which has fallen further from -0.2% in the last quarter of 2011.
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Once named as Britain's tallest man, the 7'7" star played Mag The Mighty in the fantasy series. He died following heart failure.
With the County Championship starting in April, Sir Ian will make a statement later about his visions for the club.
The next phase in plans to attract more high-tech companies to a leading science parks in County Durham gets underway today.