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£60 million for region's industry

The government has pledged a total of £60 million for a series of projects across Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The windfall will benefit the aviation industry and create thousands of new jobs, homes, and better roads. But critics claim it's just another political sweetener three months ahead of the General Election. Malcolm Robertson's been looking at one of the schemes designed to benefit.

Growth Deal expansion secures £155.5m to help boost region's economy

The government has announced funding worth £155.5m for the Anglia region. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive.

The government has announced an extra £155.5m in funding for the Anglia region as part of a bid to boost economic growth in the area.

The money is an expansion of the Growth Deal announced by ministers in July last year.

It will see the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership in Norfolk and Suffolk awarded an additional £48.5m to spend on a number of projects.

They include the creation of an Aviation Academy - the first of its kind in the UK - and new innovation centres in Ipswich and King's Lynn to support businesses to set up and grow.

In the greater Cambridge and Peterborough areas, £38m will be used to help create an Institute of Advanced Construction, a Highways and Civil Engineering Academy, and will fund the construction of the new Ely Southern Bypass, among other projects.

Hertfordshire will benefit from an extra £22.3m which will be spent on regeneration projects in Bishop's Stortford and Hatfield, and a state-of-the-art engineering design and innovation centre in Stevenage.

And in Northampton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, £46.7m will be used towards projects including a new centre focused on intelligent technology at Cranfield University, and a new "creative industries hub" in Northampton.

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Overtaking ban for lorries to be considered

The Highways Agency is considering banning lorries overtaking on part of the M11. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

The Highways Agency has confirmed it is considering a ban on lorries overtaking on a stretch of the M11 in Essex.

It comes after Essex county councillors asked for restrictions to be imposed between junctions 8 and 9, near Harlow.

The changes could be implemented later this year.

Read Emma Hutchinson's election blog

With 100 days to go until the General Election, here's the first installment of ITV Anglia Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson's election blog:

Its January 27th 2015, 100 days to go until polling day on May 7th , and the countdown is on to the most unpredictable election in a generation.

Our region will be a key battleground with politicians vying to win over voters in marginal constituencies. The electoral map in the East is currently a Conservative stronghold with just 4 Liberal Democrat MPs in Norwich South, North Norfolk, Colchester and Cambridge and 3 Labour MPs in Luton North and South and Corby as well as a single UKIP MP in Clacton.

Labour are targeting seats like Norwich South , Waveney, Bedford, Northampton North and Ipswich , where only a few hundred voters would have to change allegiance to change the colour of the constituency.

Meanwhile the Conservatives like the look of our region as it is and want to hang on to the seats they already have as well as trying to win back Corby , which Labour won in a by-election in 2012.

The Liberal Democrats believe they can do better than their opinion poll rating suggests and hang on in places they already have , though Norwich South will prove a very tough fight , the current Liberal Democrat majority there is just 310.

And UKIP leader Nigel Farage believes the East of England is his party's most fertile territory , they topped the poll here in the European Elections last May and won more than 50% of the vote in the Clacton by-election to get UKIP's first elected MP

Add the Greens into the mix , who say their membership is growing rapidly and they hope to do well in Norwich and Cambridge, and you can see why the only thing that's certain about this election is the date.

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Election 2015 - your issues raised

Today marks 100 days to go until the General Election Credit: ITV News

With 100 days to go until the General Election, an exclusive poll commissioned by ITV News has highlighted the top concerns for voters.

Nationally, the NHS came out as the biggest issue.

But here in the East, immigration is the top priority - 55% of those questioned said it should be a main focus for the government - compared to 49% nationally.

Managing the National Health service is a very close second for our region, with 53% saying it should be a priority issue.

And the cost of living rounds out the top 3 - with 25% citing it as a concern.

ITV News Anglia's Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson has been talking to all the main party leaders about what they're doing to convince voters.

Former Ukip candidate cleared on first four counts of electoral fraud

Former Ukip candidate Matthew Smith Credit: ITV News Anglia

A former Ukip candidate has been cleared of four counts of electoral fraud in Norfolk, while two other party members have also been cleared over any involvement relating to council elections in 2013.

Matthew Smith was suspended from Ukip after allegations of forged signatures on nomination forms. Yesterday 60 year old Michael Monk from Hopton and Daniel Thistletwaithe who's 19 and from Belton were found not guilty at Norwich Crown Court. The jury is still considering a total of five charges against Mr Smith. He pleads not guilty.

Ukip members cleared over electorial fraud

Two Ukip members have been cleared over any involvement in an alleged electoral fraud relating to council elections in Norfolk.

The men had been standing trial alongside Matthew Smith, the Norfolk County Council member for Gorleston St Andrews who had been selected to stand for parliament in the target seat of Great Yarmouth at the next general election.

The charges relate to county council elections in the Yarmouth area in May 2013, when Smith stood for election and acted as Ukip's electoral agent.

Fellow Ukip members Michael Monk from Hopton, and 19 year old Daniel Thistlethwaite from Belton, had both denied one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers. They were found not guilty by a jury at Norwich Crown Court.

Smith from Gorleston, has denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers knowing that they contained false signatures and three of making false nomination papers.

The jury is still considering its verdicts on those charges.

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