Paul Brand and guests discuss the election campaign so far; the cost of living row, and how much money we need to afford a decent life.Read the full story ›
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.
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."
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:
Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Colin Race, has today left the Labour Party and joined UKIP http://t.co/WebXMMzt4F
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?
Petrol stations insome of the most remote areas could soon claim back up to five pence per litre of tax.
The government wants to bring down fuel prices in the areas around Hawes in North Yorkshire but the plans still need European Council approval.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, says it will benefit the most isolated areas:
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
It also says that the region has seen a near 20% decrease in its spending power, compared to 6.1% in the South East.
Figures out later today could show waiting times at NHS hospitals at their worst level for ten years.
The quarterly statistics that cover October to December of last year may see the health service miss its target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours.
Cliff Mann of the College of Emergency Medicine told the BBC:
A&E units are really busy and services are stretched in many places. There is just not the capacity in the community to get patients out and with record numbers coming in there is gridlock.
The NHS has been given extra money this winter to help it cope, but I am not convinced it has all got through to the places it should. Things are getting very difficult.