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New home for search and rescue helicopters

Search and rescue helicopters that were due to be re-located to Manston Airport could now be housed at Lydd Airport. The aircraft, which are used for rescue operations along the coast, currently operate out of RAF Wattisham in Suffolk. They were due to move to Manston this summer but the airport there has now closed. ITV News Meridian understands that negotiations are now underway to bring the aircraft to Lydd. Tom Savvides talks to parliamentary candidate Lynn Beaumont and the leader of Shepway Council, David Monk.

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  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Petrol prices: what's the outlook?

Like the stuff itself, petrol and diesel prices are volatile. And whether you drive or not, your life is affected by them. When the cost of a litre started to skyrocket some years ago, freight organisations and drivers groups said it couldn't go on.

Well it hasn't - and much to many people's surprise, petrol's almost below a pound a litre - and according to the boss of Shell, prices will stay low for months. But what does this mean for companies, and consumers, around the south-east? David Johns has been finding out.

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Prime Minister pledges to safeguard defence jobs at Gosport, Portsmouth and at RAF Odiham

The Prime Minister is visiting Hampshire to confirm millions of pounds in defence investment securing more than 400 jobs.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a £420 million contract with Boeing - which makes the Chinook helicopter - for 'in-service support'.

The contract will last for five years and will safeguard 450 jobs at Fleetlands in Gosport, with other technical support provided at RAF Odiham near Basingstoke and sites across the UK.

David Cameron is expected to tell defence workers based in Gosport, Portsmouth and RAF Odiham that their jobs are secure thanks to a deal to maintain the Chinook helicopter fleet and to prepare the naval dockyard for the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

One of the RAF's Chinooks based at RAF Odiham flying above the Hampshire countryside Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Chinook is the UK’s only military heavy lift helicopter and can transport up to 54 troops or 10 tonnes of supplies.

The RAF's fleet of Chinooks will total 60 in number by early 2017 and includes the new Mark 6 helicopters.

David Cameron will also announce the preferred bidders to occupy the Portsmouth ship hall facilities.

At the end of last month, it was announced by the MOD that three companies had been shortlisted.

In November 2013, it was announced 940 ship building jobs were to be lost by BAE at their Portsmouth yard.

It was feared at the time that the move would mean the end of shipbuilding in the city bringing to an end a centuries old local industry that built the Tudor warship the Mary Rose.

  1. Andy Dickenson

Should 'tourism tax' be given a break?

A group of south-east MPs are backing a campaign to boost the finances of the region's hotels and tourist attractions by giving them a massive tax break.

They say the VAT rate for tourist businesses should be cut from 20% to 5% - closer to the rate in force in many other EU countries.

The campaign has the support of more than 100 MPs and it's on course to become an election issue:

Interviewees: Hotel owners Michael Clinch and Nick Head, Tracey Crouch MP.

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