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George Galloway quizzed over 'Israel-free zone' speech

Galloway said he didn't want Israelis coming to Bradford.
Galloway said he didn't want Israelis coming to Bradford. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Respect MP George Galloway has been interviewed under caution by police after making a speech in which he announced Bradford was an "Israel-free zone".

The left-wing MP stated in the speech that Israelis were not welcome in the city where he has a constituency.

West Yorkshire Police said it would investigate after footage of the speech, made in Leeds, circulated online.

He has now been interviewed voluntarily and the Crown Prosecution Service will decide whether any charges should follow.

No campaign launched in boundary dispute

A group opposing the plans which could see Hull expand into parts of East Yorkshire has launched its campaign.

The city council says its existing boundaries put it at an economic disadvantage and want to change to bring areas on the outskirts of Hull into under the council's authority.

But in the East Riding of Yorkshire they have described the move as a land-grab and have called a referendum of people who could be affected.

James Webster has been in Hessle where the no campaigners gathered to discuss their plans:

Troubled Families programme expanded

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today announced details of an expansion to the Government's Troubled Families programme to help vulnerable younger children from struggling homes to get a better chance in life.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
Communities Secretary and former Bradford Council leader Eric Pickles Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Work will begin this year in 51 of the best performing areas, ahead of a national five year programme from 2015 to help more troubled families who cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds per year without intervention.

Recent research shows that troubled families that have been worked with so far have an average of nine serious problems such as truancy, crime, anti-social behaviour, worklessness and domestic violence.

As well as expanding from working with school-age children to those under five, the wider programme will also have a particular focus on improving poor health, which new data published today highlights is a particular problem in troubled families, with 71% having a physical health problem and 46% a mental health concern.

The scheme builds on the success of the current programme run by councils, which new figures show is now helping over 110,000 of the most troubled families in England.

Of these over 53,000 have had their lives turned around thanks to the intensive and practical approach, which works with the whole family on all of its problems.

While retaining its focus on reducing truancy, crime and anti-social behaviour, the expanded programme will apply this approach to a larger group of families with a wider set of problems including domestic violence, debt and children at risk of being taken into care.

And the programme will continue to prioritise getting adults into work, with the Department for Work and Pensions providing 300 specialist troubled families employment advisers who will also work with young people at risk of becoming unemployed.

The Troubled Families programme has been a brilliant partnership between the Government and councils, changing the way services are run, saving taxpayers money and turning around the lives of some of the hardest to help in the country, with kids back in school, youth crime and anti-social behaviour cut and adults better able to work.

" Building on this momentum, we are now able to help even more families and deal with even more problems and I am delighted that that work will now begin in the next few months."

– Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Families with an average of nine different serious problems need help that gets in through the front door of their home and to the heart of what is really going on in their lives.

"The Troubled Families programme has been able to do that by taking a 'tough love' approach and dealing with the whole family and all of its problems.

"This has been the start of a revolution in the way that we work with our most challenging families and which we need to accelerate in the years ahead."

– Louise Casey, Head of the Government's Troubles Families programme

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Stark warning over council cuts

A cash-strapped Yorkshire council has told its residents to brace themselves for more tough times ahead.

Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire has already made deep budget cuts. Now it needs to go further and "drastic options" are being considered.

In the firing line are libraries, museums and open-air markets and council tax payers could soon be asked whether they want to pay more to save some of them.

Chris Kiddey reports:

Government warn against council tax rises

In response to the Kirklees Council leader saying a referendum might be necessary to allow the authority to raise council tax by more than five per cent, the Local Governments Minister has warned that taxes should be kept down.

In a statement, Kris Hopkins said central funding was being made available to authorities that choose to freeze council tax and that it was "vital" councils helped to reduce the deficit:

Council tax has come down by nearly 11 per cent in real teams nationally because extra central funding is on the table to help hard-working people with the cost of living, in stark contrast to when bills doubled before 2010. That is why we want every council to freeze their council tax and why we have offered extra central funding to councils that choose to freeze bills.

If Kirklees agrees at full council to increase council tax it should put the decision to referendum and trust the will of local people and give residents the power to veto high council tax rises. It is vital that councils continue to play their part in reducing the deficit by making sensible savings to protect frontline services and keep council tax down.

– Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins
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