The latest news, sport, weather and features from the South West of England.
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Health and social care managers are tonight
assessing the likely impact of new government
money to help ease the
In today's budget, the Chancellor announced an
extra ?2 billion nationally over the next three years.
It saying that is easing the pressure on our
hospitals, but how much of a difference will it make?
Well, I'm joined now by our health correspondent Jenny Walrond.
Jenny, what kind of reaction have we seen
Only a couple of weeks ago, the councils in the
south-west were criticising the government for not giving them
enough funding to address what they described
Today, some of them said that there were clues that the government
has listened to their concerns but warned that
a long-term solution is
required, and we're likely to find out what that
long-term solution is
likely to be later in the year when the government its proposals in a
green paper, which is a consultation document.
We've also heard today from Sarah Wallace an MP who is a
She said that she's been assured that this is new funding,
it's not being raided from other budgets, but ?2 billion over three
Well, one think tank, the Local Government Information Unit,
And briefly, Jenny, any other big announcements
Well, the Chancellor has promised an extra ?100 million to put more
GPs in accident and emergency department
to ease the pressure for next winter.
That's something that's already happening in some of our
hospitals, and also ?325 million for sustainability
Now, these are the reorganisations of health services
that have been causing a loss of anxiety in
closure of commutable hospital beds, the possible loss of some services
such as maternity, and this funding will go to set up different
services, things such as services that care for you in your own home.
Jenny, we'll have to leave it there, thank you.
Elsewhere the budget brought some relief
But there'll be hikes in National Insurance
Our business correspondent Neil Gallagher is live
in Tavistock for us tonight. Neil.
I reckon if you had to pick a proper south west market
town to do business in, you might well choose
But even here it's a low wage economy built around small
businesses with a lot of self employment.
So the raise in National Insurance Contributions for self employed
FSB locally described it as a good way to put people off
West Devon is one of those places that feels it's in danger
Some previous chancellors have had more to say about our transport
links here than Phillip Hammond did, and that point wasn't
lost on one customer of the Cornish,
who represents the business community.
As you say, lots about north and Midlands, lots about Wales,
Scotland and Ireland, nothing about the south-west at all, and given
that we had assurances previously, we were really hoping to get those
firmed up in terms of some commitment to both rail and road.
Lots of rises in business rates had been looming.
Today the Chancellor said small and medium sized pubs would get
a ?1,000 discount on the rates they were expecting...
Going forward, I see there needs to be a
full review of the way business rates are dished out, really,
because it's quite archaic, especially businesses by gas on the
high Street which have got bricks and mortar, they're going to be
severely punished in comparison to the big guys in the new digital age.
Somewhere that had been fearing some of the biggest rises in business
Today the Chancellor's moves to soften these seemed
We have to pass on so much of the price increases
to our customers, or absorb the price rises ourselves.
It's a great day, but there is still that need
for long-term reform for
the feature to ensure that doesn't happen in the future.
The current business rates just tax business
whether a customer walks through the door or not,
and I think everybody would say it's fairer to tax on
profits, and that makes it more competitive and investment strategy
for businesses rather than just having big rises just for actually
existing, and opening your door on day one.
One final thought from St Austell brewery who own this pub:
2p on a pint: "extremely disappointing
"a real body blow" to the industry.
And from Tavistock to Westminster, where our political editor
Martyn Oates has been following today's announcements.
We've got used to little lists of goodies for the south-west being
This time I think the only two specific
references were one to the
Exeter mathematics school, and the news that the Plymouth MP Oliver
Colville will be the government's official representative for the
Mayflower 400 centenary celebrations.
And I'm joined now by both of the favoured duo, Oliver
Colville, and the Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw.
Oliver Colville, to begin with, a lot of people have made the
point today that there was nothing in the budget today with your other
hat on as the leader of the group of MPs campaigning for better rail
We've been having serious conversations with
ministers, and it's quite clear that the government is very much
committed to improving the railways, and indeed at a recent meeting they
made it quite clear as well that we are
starting to do work on the
Dawlish line in a roundabout 2019, and then they'll look at what they
can do as far as the Tavistock line concerned probably some little while
The top priority is most certainly going to be sorting out
that Dawlish line, that we don't ever again
see our economy west of
Exeter being mucked around in the way in which it was when that
Ben Bradshaw, the government is moving to deliver on
Oh, it seems to me that Mrs May has quietly dropped those
grandiose promises that were made by George Osborne and David Cameron
We all remember what they were, big in
the structure investment in the south-west
we are halfway through the parliament is now and we've seen
The governments does seem to have listened
and delivered help both on
social care and help with the business rates increase.
Yes, I'm pleased about what they said on
business rate and social care, although I think the social care is
a sticking plaster, it's not a long-term solution,
it doesn't make up for the big cats we've already
suffered, and of course another broken election promise on
increasing national insurance contributions will be self-employed.
Oliver, that's really interesting, isn't it, for a Conservative
You'll know that lots of Conservative backbenchers are cross
about this increase in national insurance contributions for small
businesses and small business constituencies are one which
traditionally the Conservative Party looks to.
It most certainly is, it is a very important one and
especially in my constituency there is a large amount of small
I think we need to remember two things, though, one is
that people who are repaying their money through PAYE, they need to be
treated on a level playing field I would argue, with the small
Secondly, we will have to see the debates that are taking
the announcement get made during the Budget Statement, but we
do need to see how this is now going to develop
number of people who are speaking very firmly on that issue.
Are you suggesting that you might be opposed to it and the government
No, no, all I'm just saying is that we need to
have a conversation about it, that's a bit of a priority.
To ensure that this government actually does
OK, Oliver Colville, Ben Bradshaw, thank you both very much.
The background of this of course politically in the south-west is
that all of the MPs, bar Ben Bradshaw,
are Conservative MPs, and
as they seem to like reminding us they know that there will be public
pressure on them to deliver as a lobbying force in Westminster.
Onto other news now, and campaigners from the south west have been
protesting in London today over changes to women's pension age.
They say they've had up to six years added on,
with little or no notice, and are calling on the Government
They claim the changes to the state pension scheme amount
Police searching for a 26-year-old missing woman in North Devon have
Lauren Phillips' car was last seen in Woolacombe almost two weeks ago.
Devon Councillors are threatening to refer plans to close 71
Community Hospital beds to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
They want health commissioners to assure them it's good
for the local health service and that the consultation
Investigators think plastic packaging accidentally left
on a sauna heater caused a major fire in Exeter.
The Riverside Leisure Centre was severely damaged in the fire
It's not known how long the centre will remain closed.
Let's take a look at the weather now - here's David.
Hello, good evening. Missed and low cloud causing a few problems for us
at the moment, quite extensive and pretty poor visibility out there. It
may be that tomorrow the drizzle and Mr Will clear, steadily to the
south, mainly affecting the English Channel posts, and the more western
parts of Cornwall with somewhat brighter conditions nudging in from
the north but for tonight and tomorrow, the Hill and coastal fog
is quite thick, and if it is causing problem is on our roads it would be
for updates. This weather front for updates. This weather front
straight across Cornwall for the middle of the day, and by the middle
day on Friday as lot of moist air but it has moved away but I am able
there will be bricks on the cloud on Friday. Showers overnight surmising
that drizzle and missed and low cloud as I mentioned, poor
visibility and a miles 10-11 degrees minimum damage. Tomorrow, along the
south coast the drizzle probably continues but further north there is
a good chance of some breaks in the cloud, but where that happens we
will get some pretty good stab at it,. Always very misty and rather
cloudy for the more western parts of Cornwall. On Friday we start the day
similarly, lots of cloud of mist, but it will brighten up and by the
afternoon clouds holes developed to let the sunshine income of 13 to 14
the top temperature. Showers possible on Saturday and Sunday, but
turning fresher at the same time. Having at night.
Lots more online - breakfast bulletins start from 6.25 tomorrow.
Good night though, from all of us here.
outlook, staying mild and Nick has the bigger picture across the UK.
Hello. Spring is in the air with temperatures reaching 14 or 15 in a
few spots today as they will again over the next few days. Very
pleasant in the sun. The daffodils were loving that in York. More
places under blue sky tomorrow and dry. Tonight heavy showers moving
across Scotland on strong to gale force winds, some may clip Northern
Ireland. It's a mild night in southern England and South Wales but
damp and drizzly, misty with coastal and hill fog elsewhere. Temperatures
in between and dry: This damp weather hangs on from parts of the
Channel Islands, to Cornwall. Elsewhere, it's getting brighter in
South Wales and southern England. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland
some sunny spells around from the word go. The