The battery manufacturer’s dreams of a Britishvolt gigafactory have become a reality, creating 3,000 news jobs in Northumberland.
With multi-million pound government funding inspiring £1.7bn from private investors, the plans to transform former coal yards at the Blyth Power station in to the new factory are set to begin in the next two months.
The Britishvolt gigafactory will hopefully result in 3,000 jobs on site, with a further 5,000 jobs in the plant’s supply chain.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng Business Secretary said: “Today’s news is a major boost for Britain and a resounding vote of confidence in the North East economy.
Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.”
Despite rates declining on a national scale, the North East recently became the region with the highest unemployment.
The Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund has funded the project with £100m to help create jobs.
Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: “Our support for Britishvolt’s gigafactory is not only set to bring new jobs to the people of Northumberland, but by unlocking huge amounts of additional investment, we are helping to turbocharge the local economy.
All of which will not only transform Blyth, but also help us build the batteries that will power our electric vehicles for a cleaner, greener future.”
The Britishvolt gigafactory furthers the region’s leading efforts to decarbonise cars and vans, contributing to the government’s Net Zero Strategy.
The original plans have been in place since late 2020, with the site being secured in April 2021 and planning permission being approved in July, however, an additional £1.2bn was still needed to build the Britishvolt gigafacory.
Britishvolt’s executive chairman, Peter Rolton, told the BBC’s Today programme: “This announcement is a major step in putting the UK at the forefront of the global energy transition, unlocking huge private sector investment that will develop the technology and skills required for Britain to play its part in the next industrial revolution.
“This is a truly historic day and marks the start of a truly exciting move towards a low carbon future.
By the end of the decade, the factory aims to be manufacturing over 300,000 vehicles a year.
Man denies 1992 murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan
A man accused of the murder of a schoolgirl who was stabbed to death 30 years ago has denied the charge.
Seven-year-old Nikki Allan vanished on Wednesday, October 7, 1992 after leaving her grandparents’ flat in Wear Garth, Sunderland.
The next morning, Nikki’s school shoes were found a few hundred yards away outside of the Old Exchange building. Her body was discovered lying in a pool of blood inside the derelict building by a neighbour who was helping the police with their search for the missing youngster. She had been stabbed 37 times.
David Boyd, of Chesterton Court, Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on the morning of Monday, June 20, where he faced a charge of murder.
The 54-year-old appeared via video link where he pleaded not guilty to the offence during the short, 25-minute hearing.
A trial had originally been listed to start on January 11 next year but the court heard it may now be put back until April 19. Any trial could last up to six weeks.
Boyd was remanded in custody in the meantime.
Judge Paul Sloan QC informed the court that a further pre-trial hearing will now take place on Monday, November 7.
The judge told Boyd: “I am adjourning your case to trial. The precise trial date will be confirmed, hopefully in the next few days.
“There will be at least one further pre-trial hearing before the trial date.
“In due course you will be required to provide a defence statement, setting out in detail your defence to the charge you face.”
Nikki’s mother Sharon Henderson sat in the public gallery for the hearing. She burst into tears when the charge was read out, was consoled by supporters and the court usher gave her a tissue.
After Boyd was charged, Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable David Felton said: “This is an extremely tragic case and our thoughts very much continue to be with the family and friends of Nikki Allan.
“A significant investigation has been ongoing ever since Nikki’s death 30 years ago.
“As with any unsolved cases of this nature, they are never closed. Our dedicated teams constantly review the evidence and follow any new investigative leads that may come to light.”
Concern over school meals at Darlington school
Wyvern Academy, a secondary school in Darlington, County Durham, has recently received complaints from many concerned parents over the quality and quantity of their school dinners.
Parents have complained that their children are going hungry as the meals the school provides are too small. On occasion, the school reportedly has even ran out of food supplies leaving some pupils without lunch.
A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, reported to the Chronicle Live that “they regularly run out of food,” and her daughter now takes a packed lunch “so she isn’t hungry for the rest of the day.”
These claims of insufficient portion sizes and quality have worried parents. This is particularly worrying for parents whose children are on free school meals. Another parent told Chronicle Live “my child, along with other’s are eligible for free school meals [but] now I’m having to provide her with a packed lunch.”
The Government’s Free School Meals scheme offers children free lunches at school if their parents are eligible and meet the criteria. This criteria includes those who receive income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Universal credit.
These claims about inadequate quantity of school dinners are disappointing and distressing for parents/guardians who were promised free school meals for their children.
According to The Guardian, one in three children in North-East England are on free school meals. This follows an increase this year of 160,000 more children being eligible for free school meals, taking the total to 1.9million, according to January figures.
The north-east of England has the highest rate, with 29.1% of school pupils eligible for free school meals whereas the south-east of England comparatively has the lowest rate with 17.6% eligible.
Wyvern Academy, who were rated “requires improvement” by Ofsted in all areas on their latest inspection in November 2019, released a form for parents on their twitter account on Monday 6th June.
This form includes questions on the quality, quantity, availability, and choices of school dinners as well as questions on further dinner arrangements and time allocated for meals with a 5-star system. It also provides a comment box for parents/guardians to suggest improvements to the school meals.
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Convicted murderer who stabbed friend to death after escaping open prison dies at HMP Frankland
A convicted murderer who stabbed his friend to death after escaping from an open prison has died behind bars.
Joseph Turnbull was given four life sentences after he admitted murdering Paul Wharton, 37, by stabbing him in the heart, and robbing betting offices and off-licences.
The prisoner, who was 53 years old when he was jailed at The Old Bailey in 2006, committed the offences during a five-month period the previous year, after absconding from Leyhill prison in Gloucester.
Turnbull, who had been in HMP Frankland for 14 years, died at the prison on October 12 last year, aged 68. An independent investigation into his death has revealed how he had been diagnosed with lung cancer which has spread to his lower spine.
The murderer was previously jailed for seven years in 2000 for theft and robbery and was due to be released seven months after he walked out of Leyhill in May 2005. During that time, Turnbull travelled to London and worked as a Big Issue seller, earning £50 a day. But the money was not enough to fund his drug habit of five different drugs a day, including methadone prescribed by a doctor.
Turnbull met Paul Wharton after falling in with addicts in north London. Mr Wharton’s body was found in his flat in October 2005. He had been stabbed in the heart. The Old Bailey heard in 2006 how the victim’s hands and legs were tied with shoe laces and a tea towel had been placed in his mouth as a gag.
Turnbull had used his card and pin number to withdraw Mr Wharton’s benefits from a local post office. He was captured on October 18 for robbery after being caught on CCTV.
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