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Work on controversial Norwich road to get underway before Christmas

There have been numerous protests against the road. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Work on a controversial new road around Norwich will get underway before Christmas after the government approved the plans.

The Chancellor agreed to release the funding needed to go ahead with the Northern Distributor Road in his autumn statement yesterday (November 25).

There's been a series of protests against the 12 mile road which will run from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 north of Taverham.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the funding yesterday. Credit: PA

"This is a memorable day for Norfolk and Norwich. This announcement from the Government is confirmation that over £100m in national funding will be coming to Norfolk for Norwich Northern Distributor Road. The road is essential infrastructure for the future wellbeing of the city and county, supporting economic growth and new jobs, and making journeys quicker and easier for thousands of people every day.

The funding package is now firmly in place. This means that we are on course for site clearance work to start in the next few weeks, with main construction beginning around the end of March next year. This work will include environmental and wildlife protection measures that set new standards nationally – I am looking forward to planting the first of the 30,000 trees that will be going in along the route.

We know that Norfolk needs better infrastructure, and there is almost £106.5m* of national funding on the table to pay for this road. We should now be working together to make the most of the opportunities the NDR will give us, and to press for further national investment in our roads and railways - particularly the A47 and Great Yarmouth's third river crossing, and the Norwich to London main rail line."

– Cllr George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council


More cash promised for Suffolk bridge projects

Two new bridges in Suffolk could be a step closer after the Chancellor promised more cash for local infrastructure in the Autumn Statement.

A third river crossing for Lowestoft could be a step closer following the Chancellor's Autumn Statement Credit: ITV News Anglia

The government says it will provide £475 million of investment so local areas can bid for funding for projects such as the Lowestoft Third River Crossing and Ipswich Wet Dock Crossing.

Lowestoft has long campaigned for an additional river crossing as the current bascule bridge causes traffic congestion when raised to let shipping into the port.

Chancellor takes up Colchester MP's charity idea for 'tampon tax'

Colchester MP Will Quince tells Chancellor to give 'tampon tax' to charity. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Chancellor George Osborne has taken up an idea from the Colchester MP Will Quince for the £15m a year raised from the so-called 'tampon tax' to be ploughed into supporting women's charities.

During his Autumn Statement, Mr Osborne vowed that he was "committed" to persuading the EU to allow Britain to scrap VAT on sanitary items - but in the meantime, it would be put to "good use".

"There are many great charities that work to support vulnerable women and my Honourable Friend, the new Member for Colchester, has proposed to me a brilliant way to give them more help.

"300,000 people have signed a petition arguing that no VAT should be charged on sanitary products. We already charge the lowest 5% rate allowable under European law and we’re committed to getting the EU rules changed.

"Until that happens, I’m going to use the £15 million a year raised from the Tampon Tax to fund women’s health and support charities."

– George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Services under strain as more cuts expected in Spending Review

Public services across the Anglia region are braced for big cuts in the Autumn Statement and Spending Review.

Public services across the Anglia region are braced for big cuts in the Autumn Statement and Spending Review. Credit: ITV News Anglia

All the indications are that it will be a tough settlement for local councils over the next few years with less Government money available for spending as George Osborne attempts to reduce the deficit.

Norfolk seems to be ahead of Essex and Suffolk in analysing where savings have to be made. They've already cut £250 million but are faced with an extra £111 million over the next three years.

In Cambridgeshire, the county council already knows it will have to implement more than £40 million of cuts in the coming year.

ITV News Anglia reporter Matthew Hudson has been taking a look at some of the spending areas which may be under threat and you can watch his report by clicking below


Norfolk firefighters to lobby MPs about potential cuts to their service

Heacham Fire Station, which has been open for 50 years. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Firefighters from Norfolk will be in London today lobbying the county's MPs about likely cuts to their fire service.

It's proposed that two retained stations will be closed - Heacham and either West Walton or Outwell.

The Fire Brigades Union is also worried about the potential loss of second crews from retained stations and the withdrawal of 24 hour cover from some full-time ones.

"Fire calls have gone down, but deaths have gone up.

It's ironic because if fire calls have gone down and fire deaths have gone up that means more people are actually dying in the fires that occur because we're not getting there quick enough."

– Pete Greeves, Fire Brigades Union

PM: Defence review 'very good' for RAF Marham

The Prime Minister says the government's review of defence spending is good news for RAF Marham in Norfolk.

A Tornado aircraft based at RAF Marham in west Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Cameron has announced £12 billion for military equipment in a Strategic Defence and Security Review. The SDSR set out heavily-trailed plans for two new Army 5,000-strong "strike brigades" capable of deploying rapidly around the world.

RAF Marham is the home to the Tornado force and the future home of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The Prime Minister said the additional defence spending would mean more Lightning aircraft, more quickly. He was answering a question in the House of Commons from the North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham.

"Will the Prime Minister confirm that today’s statement is good news for RAF Marham, the home of the Tornado force and the future home of Lightning II?

Obviously the Tornadoes and Brimstone missiles are playing a vital role in the campaign against Daesh, but does he agree that there is now an overwhelming case for extending those strikes into Syria itself?"

– Henry Bellingham, Conservative MP for NW Norfolk
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