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What is the middle class?

The economy and living standards came under the spotlight in January's edition of Around The House.

MPs debated the Labour leader Ed Miliband's promise this week to 'rebuild our middle class'.

They also considered the effect of the Chancellor's warning that billions of pounds of extra spending cuts will be needed after the next general election.

Watch the full debate between the Labour MP for Durham North, Kevan Jones, the Liberal Democrat member for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron and the Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith:

Around The House: 11:35pm tonight

Topical discussion with the region's MPs Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The impact of rising energy bills comes under the spotlight on tonight's edition of Around The House. North East MPs Guy Opperman and Ian Lavery discuss the possible solutions.

We will stay on a wintry theme, asking how we can protect ourselves and our property from flooding, storms and rising tides. MPs Kevan Jones, Julian Smith and Tim Farron offer their perspectives.


East Coast warns of rail delays as severe weather is forecast

East Coast has lifted ticket restrictions for some of its services and is warning that the high winds and heavy rain forecast are likely to cause delays or cancellations.

Speed restrictions are being put into place by Network Rail as severe weather conditions are forecast for Monday, December 23.

East Coast is advising passengers to check its website before they travel.


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York on flood alert

Flooded River Ouse, in York. Credit: ITV Calendar

Flood alerts are in place in North Yorkshire after days of heavy rain on the Pennines. Riverside footpaths at King's Staith and Queen's Staith in York have been flooded. Guests at a local hotel had to move their cars from a riverside car park before the River Ouse burst its banks.

A warning to motorists in York city centre Credit: ITV Calendar

One flood warning was in place on Sunday morning at Naburn Lock on the outskirts of the city. The Environment Agency says this means flooding is expected and immediate action is required by those in the affected area.

Hotel guests had to move cars before a York riverside car park flooded Credit: ITV Calendar

Lower category flood alerts have been issued for other stretches of the River Ouse and the River Nidd. Businesses in York remain open and while no significant rainfall is expected throughout Sunday, unsettled weather is forecast for Monday.

Flooded riverside footpaths in York Credit: ITV Calendar

Scarborough's £1m storm damage

Waves crashing in Scarborough Credit: ITV

It's estimated the cost of damage caused by this month's severe tidal surge could reach £1million in one part of North Yorkshire.

In a report to councillors, officials at Scarborough Borough Council said urgent repairs are needed to unsafe buildings which pose a risk of death or injury to the public.

The Borough of Scarborough was badly affected with flooding and consequent power outages in Staithes, Sandsend, Scarborough and Whitby. The areas around the harbours in Whitby and Scarborough were particularly badly affected, as were the sea defences outside the Sands apartments in Scarborough.

Longsands beach re-opened after tidal surge damage

Teams of staff from North Tyneside Council have been patrolling the local coast ensuring areas affected by the tidal surge were safe.

They have been able to re-open most of Longsands beach, which was initially closed off, owing to concerns over the stability of sand dunes and missing fencing.

Concrete and tarmac is missing from Watts Slope, the area outside the Boardwalk Café in Whitley Bay, making it potentially hazardous.

At High Point, where fencing is missing, workers have made the area safe, since there is a drop of around 20 feet onto the rocks and sea below.

Tynemouth Longsands beach has sustained substantial coastal edge damage with a significant amount of sand gone from the shore. This will be replaced through the natural process of renewal.

There has also been some damage to the caves at Cullercoats Bay. But it does not pose a safety risk.

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