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Councillors in Cambridgeshire 'reluctantly' agree to raise council tax by nearly 3%

Shire Hall, Cambridge Credit: ITV News Anglia

Councillors in Cambridgeshire have agreed to raise Council Tax by almost three per cent.

It says it is currently the third lowest funded County Council in the Country and the increase will protect vital services.

The move will add an extra £1.14 to the average householders bill.

  • Cambridgeshire gets £75m less in Government funding than an average London Borough.
  • £13.7m less than an average County Council.

The County Council has projected a budget gap for 2018/19 of £4.3m despite a range of transformation and efficiency plans already being undertaken.

Members reluctantly recommended the additional 2.99% council tax increase in its 2018/19 budget which will be put to a Full Council meeting on February 6th for final approval.

"If the outdated and broken funding formula had been rectified by now or if transitional funding was appropriately maintained, we would not need to consider whether to increase Council Tax in Cambridgeshire.”

– Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council

Justice Minister's concerns over standards at Oakhill prison

Justice Minister Phillip Lee speaking in the House of Commons Credit: ITV News Anglia

A Justice Minister has said he rules "absolutely nothing out" if G4S officials fail to improve standards at a youth jail near Milton Keynes.

Phillip Lee said "very senior people" at the security services company are aware of his views about Oakhill.

Watchdogs reported last year that surging levels of violence at the privately run facility had left staff in hospital following attacks.

"These are vulnerable children, they require the best care - especially with regards to their mental health, In negotiations I rule out absolutely nothing if those contract obligations are not being met."

– Dr Phillip Lee MP, Justice Minister

Oakhill is located near Milton Keynes and provides secure accommodation for up to 80 male youths aged 12 to 18 who have been sentenced or remanded in custody.


A message of reassurance over the impact of Brexit

Liz Truss visited Stansted Airport today Credit: ITV News

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has visited Stansted Airport to reassure businesses in the East that the government is committed to a post-Brexit economy.

On her visit she highlighted the increase in exports from the East of England- which has been vital in helping the economy grow.

The latest figures show between 2015 and 2016 exports increased 10.4%.

She said the airport's new flights to Dubai emphasised the post-Brexit need for new routes to the rest of the world.

The visit was to highlight the region's increased exports Credit: ITV News

The East of England exports £16 billion of goods to Europe, compared to £4.6 billion to North America and nearly £1 billion to China.

Machinery and transport goods were the most exported followed by chemicals.

The East of England is a thriving region and a vital hub between the UK and the rest of the world.

The Government is hugely committed to ensuring the East of England and its businesses are as competitive and productive as possible in the global marketplace.

– Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Children’s Services in Norfolk no longer "inadequate"

Children’s Services in Norfolk are no longer Credit: PA

Children’s Services in Norfolk will no longer need government intervention after the standards agency, Ofsted, raised the service's rating.

The same inspection found the County Council's adoption service is "outstanding".

Overall, Norfolk's Children's Services "require improvement to be good” having previously been rated "inadequate".

It comes after a two week inspection in November which found significant improvements in support to children in care and care leavers.

Sara Tough was appointed Director of Children's Services in July last year and was the sixth person to appointed to the role in four years.

Brexit could harm science in the East, committee hears

The debate on how Brexit might effect the country's science and research sectors has been raging in our region.

Cambridge, which is world-renowned for its cutting edge medical research, hosted Parliament's Committee on Exiting the European Union.

The experts came from the space sector, academia, life sciences and medical research.

Their concerns included whether Brexit would make it harder to recruit the best staff, participate in Europe-based projects such as the Gallileo space programme and attract investment.

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit MPs insist that leaving the European Union will provide new opportunities for the science and research sectors.

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