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Thousands take part in biggest strikes since 2010

Thousands of teachers, refuse collectors, firefighters and other public sector workers in our region are on strike today.

Around two thousand took part in a rally and march in Leeds this morning. Almost 600 schools are closed and a further 450 partially closed as teachers took part in the marches or manned picket lines.

There were similar scenes in Bradford - today's walkout is the largest one-day strike over pay by public sector workers since 2010.

The TUC's regional secretary Bill Adams says the Government are not listening to staff concerns, but MP Patrick McLoughlin says the action is hurting the public:

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Former police officer describes the Hillsborough disaster as "a scene of chaos"

Arthur Davies leaving today's hearing in Warrington Credit: Andy Bonner, ITV

A former police officer has told the Hillsborough inquests how he witnessed a "scene of chaos" as he tried to help fans on the pitch.

Arthur Davies gave assistance to at least four people, but said there was "total confusion" and he did not see senior officers taking control until later.

Mr Davies, who had been on mobile patrol, said the call to the ground was not of any great urgency.

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Dickov plots move for Turnbull

Doncaster Rovers manager Paul Dickov has refused to rule out a move for former keeper Ross Turnbull.

Dickov wants Turnbull to return to the club
Dickov wants Turnbull to return to the club Credit: Press Association

Turnbull, 29, left the club this summer following an injury hit season but Dickov sees a future at the club for the former Chelsea and Middlesbrough man.

"Hopefully Ross might come out to Portugal with us,” said Dickov

“It’s a case of ‘watch this space’ after the 18th, who takes his side to Portugal next week in an effort to step up preparations for the forthcoming League 1 season."

Unions defend ballot turnout

Unions have been criticised for going ahead with strike action despite a low turn out at the ballot.

Today, Neil Ware, from the GMB Union, defended the strike action despite figures from the National Office of Statistics saying staff in the public sector still earn between 2.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent more than the private sector in the year 2013.

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Union calls Government's strike figures 'laughable'

A union has described the Cabinet Office's figures on the amount of people striking today as "laughable".

Public sector workers march through Newcastle city centre today. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The Cabinet Office claims a fifth of civil servants - around 90,000 people - are on strike compared with a third in the last big walkout in 2011.

However, the Public and Commercial Services union dismissed the Cabinet Office's claims, saying: "No-one can trust this government to keep reliable figures, it can't even tell us what it's done with dozens of Home Office files."

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

National

Govt claims less than 20% of civil servants are on strike

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said fewer than 20% of civil servants were on strike today compared with a third in the last big walkout in 2011.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude speaks in the House of Commons today. Credit: PA

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

Mr Maude said today's disruption was the fault of union leaders and urged public sector workers that the right to strike must be exercised "responsibly".

He pointed out that only one in five members of Unite and Unison had taken part in ballots leading to the strike, adding that low turnouts strengthened the case for reform.

Watch: Gove claims teachers have 'no excuse' for going on strike

The Queen arrives at Chatsworth House

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have been greeted at Chatsworth House in the Derbyshire Dales by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

Queen arrives at Chatsworth House
Queen arrives at Chatsworth House

It will be one of numerous visits that the Queen has made over the years to the famous stately home, which has been the seat of the Cavendish family since 1549.

Queen arrives at Chatsworth House
Queen arrives at Chatsworth House

After meeting staff and seeing restoration work, the Queen and Duke will chat with people who take part in mountain and dog search and rescue and also cave rescue operations.

They will be presented to Peak District Park rangers and air ambulance crew and some 80 members of Derbyshire voluntary and charity organisations before enjoying a private lunch.

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