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50% rise in York stone thefts

People in Leeds are being asked to help report the theft of desirable York stone paving from the city’s streets by crooks who then sell it on.

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York stone pavement Credit: ITV Yorkshire

n the past year, Leeds City Council repair crews have had to replace an estimated £50,000 worth of York stone missing from pavements across the city. This is an increase of over 50% on the previous financial year.

Highways maintenance teams have been out to deal with 250 cases of the stone being stolen from public pavements in Leeds in the past year, a big increase on the 141 incidents the previous financial year.

However, fewer incidents are being reported to West Yorkshire Police, with their statistics showing a 33% drop, down from 99 in Leeds the previous year to 66 this financial year.

York stone is the distinctive natural textured stone quarried in Yorkshire that features in much of the paving in the older parts of the city, particularly in places like Harehills, Headingley, Woodhouse, Burley, Armley, Cross Green, Roundhay, Gledhow, Beeston, Pudsey and Chapel Allerton.

“There is clearly a disparity between the numbers of incidents notified to the police and how many we have to deal with.

"I’d urge anyone spotting this to report it, to help stop these unscrupulous crooks getting away with it. It’s not a victimless crime, as council taxpayers have to pick up the tab.

“What might be just a quick illegal profit to them could be really dangerous for pedestrians, if they suddenly trip over missing paving. It’s costing the council- and therefore the city- money it can ill-afford, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for us to source replacement flags, as we have to reclaim them from elsewhere in Leeds.”

– Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council

Government has 'failed to make convincing case' for HS2

The Government has yet to make a convincing case for spending £50 billion on HS2, according to a report out today.

The high speed rail network, linking the North to London, will be one of the most expensive infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. But the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee says the Government has failed to meet its two man objectives. Lord Hollick chairs the committee.

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Free hospital transport resumes for ill tot

The mother of a one-year-old from Cleethorpes says her fears over getting him to and from hospital appointments have been eased after the NHS contacted her to say free transport would be provided.

Free hospital transport resumes for ill tot

One-year-old Bobby Pullen has chronic lung disease and needs regular medical assistance, meaning he can't safely be transported long distances or taken on public transport. His mum Tamsen told Calendar she had been told the family no longer qualified for transport out of the Grimsby area - despite having an operation booked in Sheffield at the end of this month.

Tamsen has now been told that free transport will be provided to bring Bobby to his operation in Sheffield.

Osborne unveils his pre-election Budget

Chancellor George Osborne says "The sun is shining" and Britain is "Walking tall again" after five years of coalition Government.

But the Labour Leader Ed Miliband said Mr Osborne had "failed working families".

So just how is it going to affect us:

The amount that workers can earn before paying tax is to rise from £10,600 to £11,000 by 2016

Pensioners will be able to turn their retirement funds into a cash lump sum.

Petrol duty will be frozen and September's planned increase is to be scrapped - a "saving of £10 to fill your car" according to the Chancellor.

Beer duty is to be cut by a penny, cider and whisky by two per cent and wine duty will be frozen.

There will be a new personal savings allowance - the first £1,000 of interest on savings will be tax-free.

The Chancellor made much of his vision for creating a so-called "Northern Powerhouse" - his plan to make wholesale improvements to the economy, road and rail links in the North. In fact it got four mentions in his budget speech.

But with the General Election just 50 days away and the polls predicting a hung parliament are today's pledges anything more than hot air? David Hirst reports.

Ex-mayor found guilty of fraud

The former Mayor of North Lincolnshire has been found guilty of nine charges at his fraud trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Jawaid Ishaq will be sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of fraud charges

Jawaid Ishaq was found guilty of three counts of fraud, three thefts, making or supplying articles for use in fraud, possessing an article for use in fraud and perverting the course of justice.

The 72-year-old will be sentenced on Friday. He was granted conditional bail.

Coalition: Budget is the right step towards devolution

Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, Greg Mulholland says that George Osborne's 2015 Budget is a step in the right direction towards devolution for Yorkshire, and will offer a platform for the next Parliament to build on.

Meanwhile, Brigg and Goole MP, Andrew Percy says the budget is evidence of the region's progress under the coalition Government:

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Budget 2015: Tell us what you think

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Budget for 2015.

Credit: Press Association

In his speech, the Chancellor claimed that Yorkshire had created more jobs in the last year than the whole of France.

He also announced pressure from Keighley and Ilkley MP, Kris Hopkins, swayed him to cutting 1p duty per pint of beer, along with the agreement of new city deal for West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

However, Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, quoted Leeds City Council in saying that the Government is "no friend of the north".

The Opposition Leader then argued, "Let's really test him out on whether he is a friend of the North - 75% bigger cuts to local government budgets in the North than the rest of the country."

Budget 2015: Leeds Council say Government "no friend of the North"

Ed Miliband has challenged the impact of the Budget on the north Credit: Press Association
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