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Airline back on track in time for summer schedule

Luton based airline Monarch say it's on course to return to profit this year following a rescue package of more than £100 million and hundreds of redundancies.

The carrier has reduced its fleet by eight planes to 34 and will end long-haul and charter flights this summer as it turns itself into a short-haul airline.

It was rescued last year by family investment firm Greybull Capital, who pumped £125 million into the loss-making company. The business also axed 700 jobs.

Monarch Airlines set to return to profit Credit: Press Association

Growth Deal expansion secures £155.5m to help boost region's economy

The government has announced funding worth £155.5m for the Anglia region. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive.

The government has announced an extra £155.5m in funding for the Anglia region as part of a bid to boost economic growth in the area.

The money is an expansion of the Growth Deal announced by ministers in July last year.

It will see the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership in Norfolk and Suffolk awarded an additional £48.5m to spend on a number of projects.

They include the creation of an Aviation Academy - the first of its kind in the UK - and new innovation centres in Ipswich and King's Lynn to support businesses to set up and grow.

In the greater Cambridge and Peterborough areas, £38m will be used to help create an Institute of Advanced Construction, a Highways and Civil Engineering Academy, and will fund the construction of the new Ely Southern Bypass, among other projects.

Hertfordshire will benefit from an extra £22.3m which will be spent on regeneration projects in Bishop's Stortford and Hatfield, and a state-of-the-art engineering design and innovation centre in Stevenage.

And in Northampton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, £46.7m will be used towards projects including a new centre focused on intelligent technology at Cranfield University, and a new "creative industries hub" in Northampton.

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Essex households to team up to get lower energy bills

Essex County Council wants people to sign up to its energy switch scheme. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

People in Essex are being asked to sign up for a scheme which could save them money on household bills.

The Essex Energy Switch, run by Essex County Council, opens next week.

The scheme is free and aims to get a collective lower rate from energy companies for everyone who signs up.

Energy providers are encouraged to bid against each other in an auction to offer the lowest rate for gas and electricity contracts.

The initiative is open to both homeowners and tenants as well as any small or medium-sized business in the county.

Last year, more than 4,500 residents registered for the scheme. The council believes it could save households more than £200.

Debt charity says more families are struggling to make ends meet

Families are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

More and more families in our region are struggling to make ends meet, according to a national debt charity.

Step Change says more than 10,000 people in the East of England called their helpline last year - up 17% on the year before.

On average, those callers owed more than £12,000 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.

People in Essex urged to sign up to scheme which could save them money on their energy bills

The Essex Energy Switch, run by Essex County Council, opens next week. Credit: ITV News Anglia

People in Essex are being asked to sign up for a scheme which could save them money on household bills.

The Essex Energy Switch, run by Essex County Council, opens next week.

It's free, and the idea is that all those who enter get put into a collective to get lower rates from energy companies.

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Lotus sales up 54% worldwide

The Group Lotus HQ at Hethel Credit: ITV News Anglia

Norfolk based car company Lotus says it's worldwide sales are up by more than fifty per-cent over the last nine months.

Last year the company announced plans to make up to three hundred workers redundant. However it says the latest figures show that their plans for the future are working.

The biggest sales increases have been in France, Germany, China and Japan.

Essex says cuts challenge will be tough

Essex County Council faces a £49m cut in government funding. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex County Council is facing the biggest cut in government funding in the Anglia region with nearly £49 million lopped off its budget.

Early assessments of the Local Government finance settlement, which sets out how much money each local authority will receive from the government in 2015/2016, indicate the Essex could be facing a cut of around 13 per cent on its funding.

“Every successive round of cuts makes the challenge harder. We have already secured so many efficiencies. We will continue to work creatively with our dedicated and innovative officers to find new solutions but make no mistake – it will be tough.”

– Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Finance, Essex County Council
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