Live updates

Cost-cutting plans see libraries at risk of closure

Five libraries in Southampton are under threat of closure as the city council looks to save money.

Burgess Road, Cobbett Road, Millbrook, Thornhill and Weston libraries will be axed unless volunteers come forward to run them as 'community-led initiatives'.

Cobbett Road Library, one of the five threatened with closure

The decision as to whether the proposals will be accepted will be made next week on 18 August.

The council says it is part of wider plans to improve library services and ensure the majority of people in the city will be less than two miles away from a library.

They say if plans go ahead, resident who use the five libraries will still be able to access online services.

The recommendations follow a 14-week public consultation.

Nationally, library services have changed over recent years and we will decide where the future of ours lies next week.

The consultation showed that Southampton can have an efficient library service if we implement the preferred option.

– Cllr Satvir Kaur, Southampton City Council

Report says jobs at AWE in Berkshire could be protected

AWE jobs could be protected according to pressure group Credit: ITV News Meridian

The shock decision to cut 500 jobs at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire is more about private companies making bigger profits than cutting public services to repay the country's debts.

That's the conclusion of the independent Nuclear Information Service pressure group. It says a partnership should be set up between local councils, trade unions, and the Ministry of Defence to plan ways of diversifying work at AWE. It claims jobs could be protected without building new nuclear weapons. Trade unions are meeting on Monday to discuss the situation.

Advertisement

Caught on camera: The drivers who are NOT deliberately breaking the law

Seventy-five drivers are caught every day. They've been fined nearly four million pounds in the last five years. That's the cost to motorists of a controversial bus lane camera in Oxford.

To rub salt into the motoring wound, it is widely recognised that many drivers are NOT deliberately breaking the law. They are caught on camera largely because the signs and unclear and the road layout is confusing.

Campaigners, including business leaders, say something needs to be done to give motorists a fair chance. But the council is refusing to budge and claims the scheme prevents gridlock in the city centre. Kate Bunkall reports.

Commons Speaker racked up £172 bill in chauffeur-driven car - travelling just 0.7 miles

John Bercow has been accused of "obscene waste" after racking up a £172 bill being chauffeur-driven to a conference just 0.7 miles (1.1km) from Parliament.

The Commons Speaker - and MP for Buckingham - also spent £367 taking a car to Luton to deliver a speech on how MPs were restoring their reputation after the expenses scandal.

Fresh details of Mr Bercow's travel costs have been disclosed following a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association.

The details come at a difficult time for Mr Bercow. His private life has been in the headlines, with his wife, Sally, admitting she had been a "terrible wife" amid reports that she had an affair.

Commons Speaker John Bercow Credit: ITV News

Mr Bercow has been widely criticised for splashing out large sums on foreign trips - including visits to Australia, New Zealand, Burma, South Africa, the US, Finland and Austria.

But while the House authorities have previously published breakdowns of hundreds of thousands of pounds of his expenses since 2009, they have not always been complete.

In the wake of a landmark Court of Appeal ruling on the scope of FOI, Parliament has now supplied the individual receipts that were submitted over the past three years.

Among the material in the disclosure is:

:: Mr Bercow used an official car to travel to Canterbury to see Archbishop Justin Welby enthroned in 2013 - at a cost of £524.

:: In April that year he spent £172 taking a car to Carlton House Terrace - just 0.7 miles (1.1km) from the Commons - to open a conference on alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). A taxi fare for the round trip is likely to have been less than £15.

:: The same month his transport bill to a dinner organised by charity Stonewall at the Dorchester Hotel - 1.5 miles (2.4km) from Parliament - was £144.

::: A one-way drive from King's Cross station to Speaker's House after a day trip to Leeds in July 2013 cost £168.

:: Mr Bercow's car to Baroness Thatcher's funeral at St Paul's Cathedral, 1.8 miles (2.9km) from the Commons, cost £158.

John and Sally Bercow Credit: PA Images

:: In May 2013 there was a £367 bill for the Speaker to be driven to the University of Bedfordshire, where he gave a lecture on reforming parliament to ensure it was a "credible institution". "The expenses scandal proved to be an 'adapt or die' moment for Members of Parliament," he said.

:: He kept a chauffeur-driven car waiting while he attended a memorial service for former minister Malcolm Wicks in Croydon, south London, in October 2012 - costing £289 for five hours.

:: The Speaker had a Foreign Office car pick him up at Manchester Piccadilly station after travelling up to attend the funeral of Labour MP Paul Goggins in January last year. It ferried Mr Bercow and a staff member around "as directed" at a cost of £298, before they stayed at the Park Inn Radisson hotel in the centre of the city.

The following day, it took Mr Bercow and two staff members to the service in Salford, waiting and dropping them back to Manchester Piccadilly at a further cost of £276.

In total, the Speaker and his staff ran up expenses of nearly £1,300 attending the service.

:: Mr Bercow and an aide charged 299 US dollars for dinner while staying at the five-star Strand hotel in Rangoon during an official visit to Burma in the summer of 2013. The hotel's website says it offers "grand colonial splendour".

:: Long distance calls totalling 63 euro (£44) were made from Mr Bercow's room during a visit to Vienna in May 2013.

Mr Bercow is not believed to require an official car for security reasons, and the receipts indicate he has used commercial firms as well as the Government Car Service.

A spokesman for the Speaker said: "One of the Speaker's duties is to represent Parliament at home and abroad. The Speaker attends funerals and memorials for former parliamentarians as both a mark of respect and as a representative of his parliamentary colleagues.

"Additionally, the Speaker is committed to encouraging public engagement with Parliament and regularly visits universities, charities and other organisations around the UK to explain the work of the House of Commons.

"The Speaker is always mindful of costs, and travels standard class in the UK and when away from home, stays in hotels that offer value for money.

"In some instances a car service is required to facilitate timing requirements. In line with the Speaker's commitment to greater transparency details of these costs have been published on a quarterly basis since 2013."

But TaxPayers' Alliance campaign director Andy Silvester said: "This is an obscene waste of money and shows appalling judgment from whoever made the arrangements.

"Hugely expensive chauffeur-driven travel and costly meals abroad don't look good when this Speaker was elected specifically to improve the reputation of Parliament in light of the expenses scandal.

"This money doesn't grow on trees - it comes straight out of taxpayers' pockets, and it must be treated with more respect."

More support for seaside towns across the south

Seaside towns in the south are to benefit from new government support.

It's to invest in more than one hundred new local teams aimed at reviving coastal communities.

Brighton and Hove, Gosport, Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Weymouth are five of the areas selected.

"Heritage is an integral part of the English seaside; piers, bandstands, theatres and promenades are the backdrop to many happy summer holidays, but these kind of historic buildings often need money to help with repairs. Coastal Community Teams have fantastic ideas on revitalising and reusing their most precious buildings and this Coastal Revival Fund offers an excellent opportunity to get those projects up and running."

– Historic England Chief Executive Duncan Wilson

A mother's despair as cost of looking after her disabled daughter increases fourfold.

The cost of care for their sick daughter has gone up FOUR times under new government rules - and now family from Wantage in Oxfordshire say they're struggling to cope.

26 year old Jody Dickinson suffers from Charge Syndrome - which affects her eyes, ears, growth, heart and breathing A council care grant helps with the cost of a day care centre four days a week - but from April she'll have to pay a lot more.

Her mother says it's because of the new Care Act and that it is a tax on disabled people. Divya Kohli reports.

Advertisement

House prices in Oxford rise by more than £41,000

House prices in Oxford have rocketted by more than £41,000 in the last year - around £4000 more than the rise in London.

The is figure is also four times higher than price rises in the rest of the UK.

It makes the average cost of a house in the city £380,000.

It is pricing out people who want to live and work in the city, such as scientists and academics.

Watch Rachel Hepworth's report:

New airline route from Southampton to Antwerp

Here in the south we're well connected to the rest of the world. Having the likes of Gatwick and Heathrow on the doorstep makes international jet-setting easy.

Even smaller airports like Bournemouth and Southampton have flights to more than 40 destinations, from Leeds to Lanzarote.

It's great for the region's economy and experts think it could get even better, thanks to a new route from Southampton to Antwerp.

Andrew Pate has been to Belgium to find out more.

One year on: former Manston employees remember the airport

Former employees of Manston airport are holding a reunion today to mark a year since its closure.

Also at the event, which will involve forming a giant mural of pictures, will be ancilliary airfield businesses.

Credit: PA

The event is being held with the support of pro-Manston groups.

More than 140 people lost their jobs when the loss-making airport closed last year, because it failed to find a buyer.

Load more updates