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Protesters object to council cutbacks in Kent

Protesters gathered outside County Hall in Maidstone as councillors met to set the budget and next year's council tax.

Kent - like most councils - wants to increase the tax by a maximum 3.99%

In addition, it needs to make savings of around £110 million.

Councillors have suggested 150 jobs could go - in addition to the 2000 it has been forced to shed over last five years. Andrea Thomas reports.

'Worst hit' council in country to set budget for year

Credit: PA

The worst hit unitary authority in the country is considering its budget for the year.

Wokingham Borough Council is having to find an extra £2m savings - effectively a 50% cut in its budget.

Councillors claim that councils in Berkshire have been unfairly treated and are waiting for a response from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government about their grant cut before setting the final budget.

Its final budget will be considered by the council at its meeting on February 18.

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  1. Philip Hornby

Chaos in Calais - could it come here?

The Prime Minister's warning that scenes of thousands of desperate migrants in Calais could be repeated in south east England - if we vote to leave the European Union.

But Eurosceptics who are campaigning to leave the EU, say the PM's "scaremongering".

Phil Hornby's report contains interviews with Damian Green MP, Damian Collins MP, Daniel Hannan MEP and Craig Mackinlay MP.

Southampton councillors to try and balance budget

Southampton City Council needs to save £98m by April 2017 Credit: ITV Meridian

Councillors in Hampshire are due to consider how to balance the county council's budget later.

Its leader says it's facing its most "challenging period" - after forty eight million pounds was cut from the authority's government funding.

Campaigners protest over plans to cut £98m from Southampton's budget Credit: ITV Meridian

"We are facing the most challenging period of the prolonged national austerity measures. In Hampshire, this means having to deliver savings of £98 million by April 2017, rising to a further £140 million of savings by 2019/20."

"We have a strong reputation for careful financial planning, which has delivered £240 million of savings since 2008, but it's clear that having lost so much of our Government grant, future savings will become even harder to find.

"Our approach to date, has focused on running the County Council more efficiently by reducing the cost of back office functions; using savings to help protect front line services; and prudently using some reserves to manage the costs of change.

"We are proposing to continue applying these principles in the years ahead, as well as considering an increase in council tax for the first time in six years - an approach which was supported by the majority of people who fed back to us during our summer consultation.

"This option is being put forward because of the blow we received before Christmas when Government announced more drastic cuts to the local authority funding formula, which impact particularly badly on County Councils. This translates into a further £15 million gap in our budget by 2017/18 - and that's taking into account the amount we could receive if we put up council tax by just under 4% each year, in line with the Government's expectations. "The percentage includes 2% to help specifically fund adult social care - even though this only provides £10 million against anticipated costs of £35 million in adult social care, next year."

– County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, February 2016

"Should we stay or should we go?" That referendum could be just months away now. The smart money's on June 23. So we're in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where two of our euro-MPs say we need the EU more than ever; and two of them say we must go, and we won't get a second chance.

Catherine Bearder for the LibDems and Richard Howitt for Labour argue the case for Remain. Daniel Hannan, a Conservative, and Janice Atkinson who was in UKIP but's now an independent, put the case for Leave.

Lord Lucan declared dead but victim's son still fighting to solve mystery - full story

41 years ago he went missing and he hasn't been seen since, but today Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by a High Court Judge.

The peer disappeared after the nanny to his three children was found murdered - Lord Lucan the chief suspect. A blood-soaked car was later discovered in Newhaven, Sussex. Since then some have speculated he killed himself, others say he was helped to escape.

Today's ruling means there's now a new Lord Lucan as Andy Dickenson explains. His report contains flash photography and includes interviews with Lord John Bingham and Sandra Rivett's son Neil Berriman.

Video view of King Alfred plans revealed for first time

It could be the biggest ever development on Hove's seafront. Plans for a new multi-million pound leisure centre along with hundreds of new homes were revealed for the first time this morning.

The King Alfred Centre on the historic promenade has been standing since the 1930s but a council-backed scheme could now replace it.

However, similar plans sparked controversy almost a decade ago when world famous architect Frank Gehry was on board. So will this project fare any better?

Andy Dickenson reports. He speaks to Cllr Warren Morgan, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Valerie Paynter of the Save Hove campaign, local resident David Jewell, and Robert Starr of the Starr Trust, with video courtesy of LA Architects.

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