Unemployment in East Anglia falls by 2,000

Unemployment in the region has decreased by 2,000, as the number of people in work nationally reaches its highest level since records began.

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Chancellor tweets picture of new 12-sided £1 pound coin

George Osborne tweets picture of new 12-sided £1 pound coin.

The Government has announced it will introduce a 12-sided £1 pound coin, in the same shape as the old Threepenny bit.

The new coin has been described as a "giant leap into the future", and the Treasury say it will be "most secure coin in circulation in the world".

Read more on the 12-sided £1 pound coin here

Children and parents raise money to pay for lollipop lady

Blisworth Community Primary School
Children at Blisworth Community Primary School take part in a sponsored relay walk Credit: ITV News Anglia

Children and parents at Blisworth in Northamptonshire are raising money to pay for the village lollipop lady themselves.

This morning they held a sponsored relay-walk around the playground of Blisworth Community Primary School. The school needs to raise £2700 in order to fund the crossing-patrol on the busy A43 for a year.

In 2010 Northamptonshire County Council announced that it would have to stop funding the patrols as part of plans to save £73 million a year from council budgets.


Debt problems rising in the East of England

More and more families in the region are facing a debt crisis and it may also be causing mental health problems.

Figures from by the charity StepChange suggest that as well as more people getting into debt, the number of people who can't pay for essentials like food is growing.

Some families face a shortfall of £600 between their income and their outgoings over the course of a year.

In the Anglia region, the average monthly shortfall in paying essential bills has grown five-fold from £3 per month in 2012 to £16 in 2013. In Colchester, Essex the figure is as high as £58 per month and in Southend it's £38.

Click below to watch a report from ITV Anglia's Elodie Harper

Debt: where to get help?

StepChange Debt Charity has released new figures showing that nearly nine thousand people in the East of England contacted them over debt problems in 2013 - an increase of two and a half thousand on the previous year.

The Charity is urging to people to recognise that they may have a debt problem if they are doing any of the following:

  • juggling or falling behind on essential household bills
  • borrowing to make it through to pay day
  • making just the minimum repayments on your debts
  • borrowing more to pay off existing debts
  • getting hit by late payments or overdraft charges

Anyone struggling with debt can click on the links below to connect to organisations which offer free, confidential help and advice:

Norfolk MP suggests residents pay flood tax

Damage caused to the Norfolk coast Credit: ITV

Damage caused by the recent tidal surge is still being repaired along the East coast.

The Snettisham and Heacham defences saved about 3000 properties although not everyone was so lucky.

The government recently admitted it hasn't actually spent more on flood defences than the previous government, as had been claimed by the environment minister. With budget cuts it is unlikely to.

On a visit to the beaches at Snettisham and Heacham, local MP Henry Bellingham suggested those living by the coast may have to pay a flood tax.

He said, "What we must now do is find ways to pay for additional flood defences. It's not just for government or for councils, it's other organisations and local people as well."

"I believe that the people who are most seriously affected should pay more by way of a levy. And indeed the parishes in the area should be part of that programme of funding"

The MP made the suggestion while visiting Snettisham Credit: ITV

In an area where holiday homes dominate the shoreline that could become a tricky prospect. And those who live here all year round may take some persuading to dig even deeper to live by the sea.

Station staff vote for strike

Station staff working for the rail operator Greater Anglia have voted to go on strike in a row over flexible working.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union on the West Anglia route backed a campaign of industrial action.

The union has about 100 members involved in the dispute. Its General Secretary Bob Crow has accused Greater Anglia of ignoring agreed procedures.


People in the East dogged with mortgage and rent concerns, according to charity

People in the East are worried about how they can afford to pay their rent or mortgage.
People in the East are worried about how they can afford to pay their rent or mortgage. Credit: PA

One in 10 people in East Anglia is starting their New Year dogged by worries over how they can afford to pay their rent or mortgage, according to charity Shelter.

Some 10% of people in the region said they will fret about keeping the roof over their heads during January, as the hangover from Christmas bills kicks in.

More than four in 10 (42%) said they expected to struggle or fall behind with their rent or mortgage in 2014.

Across the country, 9% of more than 4,000 people surveyed said they would be worried about rent or mortgage payments this year.

Families were found to be the worst affected, with more than two-thirds (70%) of rent or mortgage payers with children saying they are either finding it tough to keep up with their payments or have fallen behind, compared with 63% of the general population of rent or mortgage payers.

Nationally, more than one in three (38%) expect to struggle or fall behind with their rent or mortgage over the next 12 months, the research found.

Shelter warned of a worrying "ostrich effect" of people being unable to face up to their financial difficulties, with nearly one fifth of people (18%) saying they had not opened post if they thought it was a bill or late payment reminder.

One in eight (14%) people admitted to putting correspondence in the bin without opening it - with this figure rising to one in six (16%) in the East of England.

Manic Monday last-minute Christmas shopping

High streets and shopping centres across the Anglia region have been packed with last minute Christmas shoppers. It's been dubbed Manic Monday - the busiest shopping day of the year.

According to the credit card giant Visa, it's thought more than £1.2 billion pounds was spent on Monday at a rate of a staggering £862,500 per minute or £15,000 per second.

There will be 31 million card transactions before the end of the day.

ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper has been speaking to shoppers and retailers about whether they think confidence is returning to the region's High Streets.

Click below to watch the report

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