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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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Councils in the Anglia region face 14% cuts in government funding

The government grant to councils in the Anglia region is being cut by 14% Credit: ITV News Anglia

Councils have warned that local authorities across England are being "pushed to breaking point" after the announcement of a new round of Government cuts which will force them to slice an estimated £2.6 billion from their budgets for next year.

The main grant from the government to local councils in the Anglia region is being cut by £323 million next year - a reduction of nearly 14%.

However the government says that the overall reduction in spending power for English councils will be 1.8%, with no council facing a loss of more than 6.4%.

The "spending power" figure includes other income that local councils receive like NHS grants, council tax and business rates and local fees and charges.

The Local Government Association said that the provisional finance settlement for 2015/16 amounted to an 8.8% cut in core central Government funding, bringing to 40% the total reduction in support since the coalition came to power in 2010.

Three county council's team up to boost economy

The three leaders of Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire County Councils Credit: ITV News Anglia

Three County Councils are teaming up to try to boost economic growth in parts of our region.

Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire County Councils want to form a new alliance. It's hoped it will mean the authorities get more control over things like transport and infrastructure.

The new 'Combined Authority' model will look to get more devolved powers from the Government by creating their own economic region, made up of the three counties.

The three leaders of each council, made the announcement at the Silverstone circuit today.

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Ed Miliband makes immigration speech in Norfolk town

The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband has been making a speech on immigration in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

During his speech he outlined his party's policies on immigration. Mr Miliband said that people coming to Britain should be here for two years before they can claim benefits and that leaving the EU would be a disaster.

Click below to watch a short clip from Ed Miliband.

Labour Leader talks immigration in Norfolk town

Ed Miliband making his speech at the Town Hall in Great Yarmouth Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Labour leader Ed Miliband is visiting Great Yarmouth to outline his party's policies on immigration.

Speaking at the town hall, Mr Miliband mapped out his vision to make it a criminal offence for employers to exploit migrants.

He added that those coming to Britain should be here for 2 years before they can claim benefits. He also insisted that Britain leaving the EU would be a disaster.

Ed Miliband making his speech in Great Yarmouth Credit: ITV News Anglia
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Ukip candidate resigns over offensive comments

Kerry Smith has resigned as his party's candidate in a top target seat. Credit: PA Wire

Kerry Smith has resigned as Ukip's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock after apologising for making offensive comments, he announced in a statement.

Recordings of phone calls obtained by the Mail on Sunday captured the would-be MP calling gay party members "poofters" and referring to someone as a "Chinky bird".

The comments were revealed just days after he was reinstated as the party's candidate in the top target seat - and Smith had already made an apology for deciding to resign.

I have this evening offered my resignation as Ukip PPC for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

I want the best for South Basildon and East Thurrock and I want to see the real issues discussed that touch the lives of people.

Therefore I have chosen to resign so that Ukip can win this seat next May.

– Kerry Smith, Ukip candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock
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