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UK and China to announce 'Northern Powerhouse' deals



The UK and China are set to agree a number of partnerships meant to "unlock the potential" of the government's so-called Northern Powerhouse.
PM David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Manchester on the final day of Mr Xi's state visit.
The first direct flights between Manchester Airport and China are among deals expected to be approved later.
Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne is to announce new devolution deals for the North East of England.
Mr Osborne's measures will mean Newcastle and Sunderland, and Tees Valley will both vote in a directly elected mayor in 2017.
On the final day of Mr Xi's state visit, he and Mr Cameron will attend lunch at Manchester Town Hall alongside business, civic and community representatives.
The leaders will also visit Manchester Airport, where the new Hainan Airlines route, which the UK government says will provide a £50m boost to the Manchester economy, will be announced.
It will be the first direct route from the UK to China outside London.
Further deals set to be agreed include the appointing of a Beijing firm BCEG as main contractor for the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester, with the company expected to provide £4m to kickstart the project.
Education partnerships including schools and universities are also set to be agreed.
Mr Cameron said: "China is a key trading partner for the UK and the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north.
"This is all part of this government's plan to attract more investment and deliver economic growth to an area of huge potential."
Mr Cameron and Mr Xi will also visit the Manchester City football academy.
They will meet current and former Manchester City and Manchester United players including Gary Neville, Patrick Vieira, Denis Law and Mike Summerbee.
On Wednesday, the two leaders held talks at Chequers focusing on "domestic priorities and foreign policy issues".
Downing Street said they had agreed that early dialogue between the two countries could help find diplomatic solutions for global and regional security challenges.
Meanwhile, Mr Osborne hailed "historic" deals with the North East Combined Authority, which takes in councils including Newcastle and Sunderland, and Tees Valley.
The North East deal will transfer powers over transport, strategic planning, employment and skills from Whitehall to the region.
It enables the authority to create an investment fund with an initial allocation of funding for capital financing of at least £30m a year for 30 years.
The Tees Valley deal will see its investment fund guaranteed at least £15m a year.
"The old model of trying to run everything in our country from the centre of London is broken," Mr Osborne said.
"It has led to an unbalanced economy and made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives."
He added: "I am determined to end this situation and I want to thank those civic leaders who want to work with us to achieve it."