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More visitors attracted to the region in year of Grand Depart

The North East had an 8% growth (372,000 people) in visitors in 2014. There was also a 3% rise in spending - £181m.

A VisitBritain report revealed more international tourists began travelling across the country than ever before.

It's thought the Tour de France played a part in the record number of visitors to Yorkshire last year (12%, reaching a new record of 1.08 million). London saw a rise of 6%.

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Around The House: Tonight at 10.40pm

Around The House at 10.40pm on ITV Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Paul Brand presents this month's political programme from Westminster.

North East MPs Bridget Phillipson and Ian Swales are among the guests to discuss the ups and downs of the election campaign so far.

Also in the programme; how much do we need to earn, to be able to have a decent life?

Join Paul Brand for Around The House, tonight (Thurs 22 January) at the new earlier time of 10.40pm.

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Le Tour brings in record number of holidaymakers

A record number of tourists visited Yorkshire last year, due in no small part to the county hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

Le Tour brings in record number of tourists

From January to September overseas visits to Yorkshire went up by 12 per cent to 1.08 million and these tourists spent a total of £465 million. The strongest growth in visits came from Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and USA.

Holiday visits in particular, across the first nine months of 2014, saw a significant jump of 32 per cent and the amount spent by tourists whilst holidaying went up by 70 per cent. Strong holiday visit growth came from France, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and USA.

In the third quarter, covering July, August and September, there were 472,000 overseas visitors to the county, breaking previous records and up 19 per cent on 2013. A total of £230m was spent during this three-month period up one per cent on 2013.

Yorkshire is playing a big part in helping to drive Britain's record tourism boom. Last year's Tour de France Grand Depart showcased the best of this wonderful region to the world and now it is about keeping up that momentum. It is why we have launched a £10 million fund to help strengthen tourism in the North and why the Deputy Prime Minister and myself have met key stakeholders in Sheffield, including Welcome to Yorkshire's Gary Verity, to discuss what more can be done to help further growth in the region.

– Tourism Minister Helen Grant

Yorkshire’s global profile has never been higher – and this is further evidence of the huge beneficial impact of bringing the world’s largest annual sporting event to the county. We know when visitors from around the world come to Yorkshire to see it for themselves they fall in love with the county, which in turn helps drive up repeat visits. The new Tour de Yorkshire international cycle race starting this May will help us capitalise on the foundations already laid.

– Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire

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Remote petrol stations could claim back 5p a litre in tax

Rural petrol stations could claim back 5p per litre in tax. Credit: PA

Petrol stations in two of the North East's most remote areas could claim back up to 5p per litre in tax within a few months.

The government wants to bring down fuel prices in Hawes in North Yorkshire and the area around Bellingham and Wark in Northumberland.

The proposals need approval from the European Council before they can be implemented.

'Heat map' reveals North East bears highest cuts

A controversial map produced by Newcastle City Council shows that people in the North East are bearing much higher cuts than those in the south.

Heat map 1 - Area change in spending power Credit: Newcastle City Council

The 'heat map' reveals that many councils here have seen funding reduced by more than £225 per head, compared to an increase in southern authority areas.

Heat map 2 - Change in spending power Credit: Newcastle City Council

It also says that the region has seen a near 20% decrease in its spending power, compared to 6.1% in the South East.

VIDEO: Nine out of ten NHS Trusts fail A&E targets

New figures released today show only one NHS Trust in our region was meeting the Government's own target of seeing 95% of A&E patients in four hours over the New Year Period.

Hospitals in Newcastle have even asked for staff from other departments to volunteer to work in A&E.

Meanwhile, doctors have warned this year's flu vaccine might not protect against all strains, after a mutation of the illness. They said this could be contributing to to some of the extra accident and emergency admissions.

You can watch our Health Correspondent Frances Read's report below.

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