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Weather: Thursday

Credit: Tracey Laing

Mainly cloudy with some patchy rain, mainly on Pennines.

Some brighter intervals are possible during the morning in the sheltered east.

Becoming milder later, but westerly winds will strengthen again.

Maximum Temperature11°C.

People in the North East ranked most generous gift-givers in the country

Credit: PA

New research by the Chartered Insurance Institute has revealed that people in the North East are the most generous in the country when it comes to giving Christmas presents.

Those in the North East are the most generous spending £396 each on Christmas gifts, closely followed by the Scots who spend £375 each. While those in Yorkshire and the Humber appear to be the least generous spending just £267 each on presents – almost 20% less than the national average.

Two North East men escape from prison in Doncaster

Police are appealing for help after two north-east men escaped from a prison in Doncaster.

Barry John Henry Lynn, who is 35-years-old and from the Scotswood area of Newcastle and Michael Forster, who is 41, and from the Gateshead area, were reported to Northumbria Police as having escaped from Hatfield Prison, near Doncaster, at 1:06pm on Wednesday November 25.

Officers in both the South Yorkshire and Northumbria force areas are currently looking for the men, who are thought to be in a new shape blue Vauxhall Astra.

There is a possibility that the men may be in the region.

The public are urged not to approach the men but to contact police on 101 with any information as to there whereabouts.

Anyone who sees the men is asked to contact officers using 999.


Durham PCC 'welcomes' governments U-Turn on Police cuts

Police forces welcomed the news that their budgets will not be cut Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg has 'welcomed' the Chancellor's announcement that ruled out any cuts in police budgets in England and Wales.

Police forces across the region were expecting to face further funding cuts in today's statement.

Since 2010 police in the North East have seen spending cuts amounting to tens of millions of pounds and today's announcement didn't make clear what the future held for each individual force.

It comes after a number of PCCs from the region wrote to the home secretary urging them not to cut their budgets in the light of recent terror attacks.

Tom Blenkinsop: North East not growing faster than the South

Commenting on todays Comprehensive Spending Review, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, said that The Chancellor's claim that the North is growing faster than the South is "completely devolved" and that they lack a "comprehensive strategy for the steel industry after the closure of SSI.

“George Osborne’s fanciful claim that the North is growing faster than the South is completely devolved from the realities of the job losses Teesside and East Cleveland has suffered in the last couple of months. I’m certain that my constituents will have serious questions for the Chancellor and the Tory Government that has stood by whilst we’ve lost our steel industry and one of the biggest employers in East Cleveland cut 700 jobs. “Furthermore, the government still lacks a comprehensive strategy for the steel industry and the industry is still waiting on compensation for the carbon price floor tax introduced four years ago. Meanwhile, the majority of the 5 point plan presented by the steel industry at the summit in October seems to have been ignored."

– Tom Ble

Nick Forbes: spending review is bad news for our region

The Government's spending review today announced that local councils can increase council tax by up to 2% to allow them to raise £2 billion for social care.

The move has been criticised by Newcastle City Council Leader Nick said public services would "all but disappear" within this Parliament and added that "shifting the burden of national social care onto local councils" would mean very difficult decisions in the future.

Councils have also been given 12 billion pounds to fund a local growth fund and extend enterprise zones and have been given the power to cut business rates to boost growth.

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