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North East to receive least from government regional growth funds

The North East is set to receive the least from the latest round investments in the form of regional growth funds.

The government has announced today our region is to get over £40 million between 2016 and 2021, which is the smallest sum of any of the English regions.

The Deputy Prime Minister says its down to which local companies bid for the funds:

In total the government is investing £1 billion in local economies across England as an expansion of their regional growth funds deal.

There aim is to pass funding from the central government into the hands of local authorities, businesses and universities, who they believe can invest with inside knowledge of what is needed in their area.

School Debate: Sunderland Academy gets involved

With only 100 days until the General Election, ITV News Tyne Tees has been working with schools to involve young people in the political process.

Pupils from the St. Aidan's Catholic Academy in Sunderland are using the ITV Schools Debate online tools to engage pupils and look ahead to the election:

Whatever your school is doing, please let us know at ITV News Tyne Tees as we would like to cover some of the events ahead of the election.

Our email address is: ITVTyneTeesElection@itv.com

For terms and conditions got to http://www.itv.com/terms

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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.

Labour Party calls UKIP 'more Tory than the Tories' after Mayor of Bishop Auckland defects

Councillor Colin Race Credit: Durham County Council

The Labour Party has responded to the Mayor of Bishop Auckland's decision to defected to the UK Independence Party.

They have said the people from the County Durham town will "rightly be questioning the decision" of Councillor Race:

On the day Nigel Farage confirmed his plans to privatise the NHS, people in Bishop Auckland will rightly be questioning the decision of one of their town councillors.

UKIP’s policies include another tax break for millionaires, higher taxes on working families, scrapping rights as at work and higher bankers’ bonuses.

They can’t be described as a party who will stand up for working people. In reality, they are more Tory than the Tories."

– Labour Spokesperson

Mayor of Bishop Auckland defects from Labour to UKIP

Councillor Colin Race Credit: Durham County Council

The Mayor of Bishop Auckland has defected from Labour to UKIP.

Councillor Colin Race, pictured above as on Durham County Council's website, confirmed his move to ITV Tyne Tees earlier this evening.

The announcement was made in a town council meeting today and UKIP tweeted the news shortly after:

Speaking of his move, Councillor Colin Race says the Labour party that he once knew "no longer exists".

Year-on-year it has become increasingly clear that Labour are neglecting voters and taking us all for granted.

The Labour Party that I once knew – the party that stuck up for the working families, is no more.

We have a cosy consensus of politicians in Westminster who spend more time patting each other on the back, than representing the people who pay their wages at the end of the month.

Here in the North East we have the highest rates of unemployment in the country, how are my kids meant to get a job when our political class support open door mass immigration from twenty-seven other EU member states?

– Cllr Race

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Hagues move to £2.5 million Montgomeryshire mansion

The Hagues will move to Ffion's native Montgomeryshire after Williams stands down as a Yorkshire MP. Credit: PA

Cabinet minister William Hague and his wife Ffion have bought a Montgomeryshire mansion as their new home after he stands down as an MP at the General Election. Cyfronydd Hall near Welshpool was on the market for £2.5 million. The nineteenth century building was a girls' school for many years but has been restored by the previous owners.

With three stories (plus cellars), the mansion has 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. It was sold with 12.7 acres of grounds and "spectacular panoramic views over the rolling countryside of the majestic Banwy valley". Buyers were warned, however, that the restoration of a one-acre walled garden "is a project waiting to happen".

Cyfronydd Hall is set in 12.7 acres Credit: Wikimedia

Ffion Hague's family roots are in Montgomeryshire. she met her husband when she was working at the Welsh Office and he became Secretary of State. The couple are both published authors and are expected to pursue their writing careers after William Hague steps down as MP for Richmond in Yorkshire and leaves David Cameron's cabinet, where he's been Foreign Secretary and now Leader of the House of Commons.

Over recent years Cyfronydd Hall has been beautifully restored, and it's great news for the area that it is now the family home of William and Ffion Hague, two people whom I expect to become acclaimed authors. I believe they will feel very much at home in our beautiful old county.

– Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire

Newcastle council says government cuts are disproportional

Newcastle City council says the Government is cutting council funds at three times the rate in the North East compared to parts of the south.

The council has produced a map that shows that in the next financial year, some councils here will have four per cent less to spend, while authorities in the south will have their budgets increased.

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