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Multi-million pound revelopment gets go-ahead

A multi million pound redevelopment of land near Didcot Parkway train station WILL go ahead after councillors approved the scheme. There are plans for hundreds of new homes, shops and leisure facilities.

The council say it's an important step in making the town a "bigger and brighter" place, but residents opposed to the proposals say they want something that reflects the local heritage. Penny Silvester reports.

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Hundreds queue to scrutinise new Thames Crossing proposals

It's ludicrous - that's the reaction of many people living near the proposed site of a new tunnel beneath the Thames. It would run under the river east of Gravesend, with roads cutting through at least two villages. It's the preferred option for a new crossing between Kent and Essex. It was among proposals on show at the first public exhibition in Kent which had hundreds of people queuing today. Andrea Thomas was there. She spoke to Martin Potts from Highways England.

South West Trains boss says railways are a success - but admits trouble with overcrowding

The boss of South West Trains says rail privatisation has been a success but admits some trains are too overcrowded.

Tim Shoveller, the company's Managing Director, hit back at critics who say handing over the rails to the private sector - 20 years ago - was a disaster.

Mr Shoveller started his career as a guard at Guildford 25 years ago.

He says passenger numbers have doubled to over 600,000 a day and SWT is now by far the busiest commuter railway in Europe. He says there has been record investment.

But he admits trains are overcrowded at busy times and measures are needed to urgently reduce the problem. He spoke exclusively to our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse

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More apprentices will be needed for new building jobs

Rise in construction industry will increase need for apprentices Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Building jobs in the south east are predicted to increase by more than two thousand in the next five years.

A new report by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) shows that the rise will inspire more young people to become apprentices.

A young CITB apprentice learning the skills of the job Credit: CITB

Could you complete all of your work in six hours?

Could you fit your work into six hours? Credit: ITV

In Sweden just 1% of the country's employees work more than a 50-hour week and they are currently 15% more productive than us Brits. So what's their secret?

Perhaps their experimentation with the six-hour day is one reason. In Gothenburg it's being trialled at a Hospital and Care Home, and it's already been in full swing at a Toyota Garage.

Do you think you could get all your work done in 6 hours? Please answer our survey!

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Watch ITV's Tonight programme 'Britain: Shirkers or Workers? Tonight' on Thursday 28th at 7.30 to find out more.

Revealed: Top 5 worst tax return claims

As the seven-day countdown to the Self Assessment deadline begins, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed the top five most outrageous personal expenses claims included in last year’s Self Assessment tax returns.

The spurious expenses range from furnishing a new flat to the meagre cost of storing Mars bars overnight in a fridge. Here’s the full list of bizarre expenses that some taxpayers have tried, and failed, to claim for:

  1. The costs for storing Mars bars overnight in a fridge

  2. The cost of a pair of flip flops so I don’t have to walk barefoot between my work’s changing and shower rooms

  3. The costs for my intimate waxing

  4. I bought a second hand car to get me from home to work so I didn’t have to walk

  5. I purchased my own flat, so I need to claim back the money I spent on the furniture.

There is now only one week left to submit your 2014-15 online tax return, and pay what you owe, to HMRC to avoid a £100 late return penalty.

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, said:

“There are a number of items and expenses that people can claim against, such as genuine business costs and items needed to do a job. But a painful beauty regime or the furniture for your own home are not items that every taxpayer in the country should be contributing towards. It’s wrong that a small minority of people expect the honest majority to subsidise their lifestyle and HMRC will never allow for these to be processed as genuine claims.

With one week to go until the 31 January deadline it’s best to complete your tax return sooner rather than later. Our online service is quick and simple to use, with lots of helpful information – completing your tax return is easier than you think.”

– Ruth Owen

Around 2 million people in the following South East postcode areas complete a Self Assessment return:

SOUTH EAST 2m Brighton - 174,000 Canterbury - 85,000 Dartford - 75,000 Guildford - 186,000 Medway - 105,000 Oxford - 133,000 Portsmouth - 149,000 Reading - 176,000 Southampton - 132,000

Parliament delays Lucas's bid to renationalise the rail service

She's one of many Sussex commuters fed up with the standards of service of our trains but she has a bit more clout than the average commuter - and today she set about using it.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, has launched a Parliamentary Bill proposing the renationalisation of the rail network. She says it would reduce fares, improve punctuality and save taxpayers a billion pounds a year. Andy Dickenson reports.

The Department for Transport have now issued a statement for this report.

They said: "We are determined to make journeys better and it is unacceptable that customers are not always receiving the service they deserve.

"We believe that franchising provides the best way to improve services and closely monitor the performance of all train companies - and offer them incentives to meet targets."

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