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Bid to reconsider school transport charges defeated

Parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Dozens of parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth, over plans to charge over-16s for school transport in Northumberland.

From September, most students between 16 and 18 years old will be charged £600 to use school buses, and will fund their own public transport costs.

The demonstration took place before an extraordinary meeting of the council. It debated a motion put forward by the Conservative group leader, Cllr Peter Jackson.

It called for the change to be suspended and for more consultations with parents.

The motion was narrowly defeated by 34 votes to 30.

Feelings ran high outside County Hall Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The Labour controlled authority says the council must reduce a £3.3m bill for post-16 transport.

Council leader, Cllr Grant Davey said:

"In difficult times, we need to be focusing our resources on those who are in greatest need.

We've listened carefully to what the public have had to say, not just today but throughout the consultation period, but the bottom line is we have to balance our budget."

The Labour group said the cost of arranging today's extraordinary meeting came to £80,000; a figure disputed by others.

The Conservative group leader, Cllr Peter Jackson said:

"I think people had to have their say. People have got a democratic right and right across Northumberland, families and young people are struggling with this new six hundred pound, effectively, tax to go to school.

They had to be heard and their concerns had to be heard and addressed and I think it was the right thing to do."

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Parents to protest over Northumberland school bus cuts

A policy of scrapping free school transport for 16-18 year olds in Northumberland is being challenged at an extraordinary meeting this morning.

Parents and students will protest outside County Hall in Morpeth as opposition councillors force a debate with the Labour administration.

The council's ruling group has voted to introduce the policy as part of a £32m pounds programme of budget cuts. Some students and their parents say the move will severely restrict their educational options.

Jail after one-punch death outside Newcastle pub

Kenneth Brough, 65, died after being punched outside a city centre pub. Credit: Northumbria Police

Sean Sillet, 21, of Hadston, Northumberland, has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Kenneth Brough.

The 65 year old fell to the ground after being punched outside the Beehive pub in Newcastle's Bigg Market on January 28.

Osborne: "compelling" case for upgrading the A1

The Chancellor George Osborne said there was a "compelling argument" for improving the A1 between Newcastle and the Scottish Borders.

Campaigners have been arguing for years that the road should be made into a dual carriageway all the way along.

"The investment is going into transport - you have seen that in some of the improvements to the A1 around Newcastle - but there is a question then of the road up to the Scottish border.

...

"I have heard the compelling argument for improving the A1: let's wait for the results of our study, which is not far off, and see if we can make this a real commitment."

– George Osborne MP, Chancellor.

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On the rocks: Osborne tastes whisky in Berwick

The Chancellor George Osborne has been tasting whisky at a 150-year-old business in Berwick-upon-Tweed, as he announced a programme of investment for rural businesses.

He chose to make the announcement at Simpson's Malt, which has invested £90m in its malting businesses over the last 30 years.

George Osborne joins local figures in Berwick

Read: Osborne dodges maths question from schoolboy

Osborne offers cash for North East rural businesses

The Chancellor George Osborne is visiting Berwick to announce extra funding that he said will support business growth in the North East from 2015, especially in rural areas.

Businesses in County Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland will be able to apply for grants from two funds, worth £22.5m.

The money is a combination of government money, private sector funding and European investment.

It could pay for the development of workspaces, investment in tourist attractions and accommodation, or investment in new equipment to help small businesses grow, where they have struggled to raise money from other sources.

Twelve month bridge closure starts today

Ovingham bridge will close at 10am this morning Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

An historic bridge will close for up to a year from this morning to allow major repairs to be carried out.

Ovingham bridge has been carrying traffic across the River Tyne since 1883.

The single-lane metal bridge will be given an overhaul, costing more than £3m.

The bridge is showing its age Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Alternative routes for motorists are in place. Pedestrians can continue to use the nearby footbridge, which was built forty years ago.

The metal bridge will be closed for up to a year Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Northumberland pupils in mass sports day

The event is held in Cramlington Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A mass sports day has been held in Northumberland to celebrate National School Sport Week. Over 1500 children from schools around the county travelled to Cramlington for the two day event.

Over 1500 athletes are competing in 14 sports including trampolining Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
The event incorporates the Northumberland Para Games with sports like wheelchair basketball Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
It's hoped this will become an annual event Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
These pupils were representing Guidepost Middle School in the netball Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Ashington High School pupil Connor was one of the first to recieve a medal following his success in the cricket. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Children from year 3 to year 12 joined the games Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
The whole county was represented with schools from Berwick to Hayden Bridge Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
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