Newcastle City Council has denied a story in the city's Evening Chronicle that it has banned traditional north east terms of endearment.
`Alreet pet', `howay hinny', and `take care, love' were among those phrases alleged to have been proscribed by officials because they might be deemed offensive to women. The advice was given on a recent equality and diversity training course.
The council described the newspaper's story as 'misleading and inaccurate'.
A spokesman said: 'There is no ban on words, such as hinny, pet, love or darling. The point made to council staff during equality and diversity training is that they must make a judgement before using these words as to whether they are likely to offend the person they are directed to.
'In the vast majority of cases these would not offend but we want our staff, as part of the equality and diversity training, to be sensitive to the needs of those in all of our communities.'