28/03/2014 Look East - West


28/03/2014

Latest news for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northants.


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Good evening. A year since the Government

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introduced changes to housing benefit, figures obtained bx the BBC

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suggest thousands in our region are going into rent arrears for the

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first time, and few have actually moved. The policy reduces bdnefit

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payments for social housing tenants if they have more rooms than they

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need. Of 529,000 social housing tenants in this region, just under

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10%, around 50,000 have been affected by the changes. And out of

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that figure, around 1.5% have actually moved. Just 873 tenants.

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I hope there is enough, bec`use I have so much stuff. Packing up and

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preparing to leave. June and moved to this three`bedroom house after a

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brain operation three years ago but her sons have since moved ott, and

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now her Housing Benefit is being cut. She can't afford the extra ?52

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a week. I understand that pdople need houses, but I am so mad that

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they are making us all move. The idea is to free up your properties

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to help people like Emma Bennett and her family. She was in a two bed

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property with two children, and now has a three bed house. My children

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are far happier. They have ` room each. I remember having to share a

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room, and it is not fun, especially with a boy. I daughter is vdry

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happy, and so is my son. So is it working? Research by the BBC

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suggests that in the east, just 873 social tenants have moved ott or

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downsized, yet it has pushed more than 11,000 into rent arrears for

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the first time since last April That is despite almost ?5.5 million

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being spent here to tide thdm over until they move out. That is why

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critics call it the bedroom tax The Government says the old system was

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subsidising spare rooms. If you are the tax payer, paying for pdople to

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be on Housing Benefit, many of those cannot have spare bedrooms hn their

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house, so how can they be p`ying for other people do have that? H think

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about 20% of our tenants were not in arrears.

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Some councils have evicted tenants for getting behind on their rent.

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Nearly 200 have moved. We h`ve circuits of people moving, `nd they

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have all been beneficial moves, so we haven't conjured up lots of extra

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properties. We have a limitdd stock, and we make the best use of the

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stocks that we have. The Government says the changes are saving money,

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but Labour says it would scrap the policy, one that remains as

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controversial as well it was introduced year ago.

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Two people have been arrestdd in Luton on suspicion of human

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trafficking. Officers went to a property in Farley Hill following a

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tip`off from the public. Earlier I spoke to our reporter Stuart

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Ratcliffe and asked him for the details.

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Today, Bedfordshire police released information about a raid thdy

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carried out yesterday in crossways, which is in the Farley Hill area of

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Luton. They found two women in their late teens, and it is thought they

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are handy Aryan, possible vhctims of trafficking scam. `` Hund ``

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Hungarian women. Men have bden arrested and are now being

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questioned. The serious criles investigation unit said that they

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would urge anyone with any information about this type of crime

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or anyone who has any concerns about someone they know all lives near to

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them to contact the force so that they can take action.

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Stuart Ratcliffe reporting there. A Northampton bar has been closed

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down after police said it h`d been used as a money`laundering front by

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a drug trafficking gang. Thd lease for the Ice Lounge on Bridgd Street

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has been returned to the buhlding's owners. The council's licensing

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committee heard the previous licensees included a drug ddaler now

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serving a 20`year sentence. Game over. The nightclub business shut

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down. After its true links to the criminal underworld were revealed.

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On the face of it, the Icec`p looks like any other bar, btt it was

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revealed that it was part of a drug trafficking and money`launddring

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ring. A covert police operation revealed that the atmospherd inside

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could be hostile and intimidating. Last month, the director, Joseph

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O'Neill, was jailed for 20 xears for supplying cocaine. His right`hand

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man was given ten years, and Michael Wilson, 7.5, for an operation

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involving 150 traffickers. The money`laundering happened at the

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bar. Instead of saying they took ?10,000, they took ?12,500, and they

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would put ?2500 into the business android out. So what was dirty money

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from the drugs money was now clean money because it went through

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illegitimate business. Todax, the license was given over to the bar's

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landlords on condition of strict texts on new tenants, and bdtter

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CCTV coverage, after violence at the club went unrecorded. If yot are

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going to have CCTV, we want to have it so that we can see the entire

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premises and not have dark `reas where people can't be seen. The club

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will stay closed until new management can be found.

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The first clinic in Europe which can treat a rare form of cancer opened

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at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge today. The new centre

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treats PAWS`GIST ` a cancer which starts in the stomach and mostly

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affects young women. Just 100 people a year are diagnosed with this

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cancer. That's all from the late te`m. Let's

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get the weather now with Aldx Dolan. Good evening. Tonight will stay dry

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with some long clear spells. Tomorrow looks like a fine day, the

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sunshine will be hazy at tiles, and lots of high`level cloud around but

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the southeasterly wind will bring us milder air from the continent. In a

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moment, the National forecast, and it stays warm for Sunday, btt by the

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time we get to next week, lhttle unsettled with a chance of rain

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showers, but still warm. forward on Saturday night. Now here

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is Nick Miller with the national forecast.

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Hello. The clocks go forward this weekend, marking the beginning of

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British summertime, BST. It has nothing to do with the weather. As

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the clocks changed last year we were coming out of the March freeze.

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This year, though, as the clucks change, the weather is warming up.

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Not clear blue sky, the sun will be hazy but the thunder storms will be

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gone. It will be mainly dry. And the weather is lively out there

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this evening. There are bands of rain with hail over western parts of

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the UK. A bit of rain for parts of the north

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of England and south-west of Scotland. And lots of hill fog into

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the Pennines. Mist and fog in the central and eastern areas of

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England. It is a slow

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