INTERNATIONAL Development Secretary Hilary Benn will visit the North-East today to discuss the impact of global issues on the region.

Mr Benn will also give a speech at an international conference hosted by the Northern TUC at Newcastle's Centre for Life.

The conference will be discussing the role of trade unions in promoting international development with labour standards at their core. It will also launch Worlds Apart - People Together, which highlights the experiences of recent Northern TUC visits to the Sierra Leone, Ecuador and Colombia.

TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: " What happens to workers in this country is directly affected by what happens to workers in other countries.

"As workers in the developing world are systematically exploited by large multi-national corporations, the more the pressure is placed on UK workers to lower standards to retain jobs.

"We want to see equal standards for workers wherever they are, in the UK, South or Central America, Africa or Asia."

Mr Benn will also visit pupils at St Mary's RC Primary School, in Whickham, Gateshead, to see how they are learning about global issues.