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ELECTION 2015 - Send us your 'Election Selfies'

Who'll be getting your vote this year? Credit: ITV

Help us to reflect what YOU'RE thinking about ahead of the upcoming General Election.

Send us you Election selfies, a 30 second video of what you think about the issues and personalities which will affect your vote- keep it broadcast-able please!

Let us know who you are and where you're from and email them to us at itvnewsmeridian@itv.com

Remember to video them in landscape mode rather than portrait.

Many thanks, and the best will be be used on our website and programme on Monday.

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Commemorative coin 50 years after Churchill's death

It is 50 years since the death of Sir Winston Churchill later this week and to mark the anniversary, ITV Meridian will be showing special features this Thursday and Friday at 6pm.

Sir Winston had close connections with the region, in particular his homes at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and Chartwell, in Kent, where events will be held to mark the anniversary.

In advance of the occasion, the former Prime Minister's great-grandson has helped strike a commemorative coin at the Royal Mint.

Hannah Thomas has more:

MP welcomes new business landscape

Stephen Metcalfe Credit: Stephen Metcalfe

The Essex Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed figures that show the Government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme has helped 30 people in his constituency South Basildon and East Thurrock set up their own business.

The Start-Up Loans scheme provides loans and mentoring support to people who want to start their own businesses. He said

“Today’s figures show not only the huge impact these measures are having on our local community in Basildon and Thurrock, but also the entire country. In the East of England region alone, the number of loans awarded has reached 1,689; with a total value of £7,853,207. This is an incredible achievement.”

– Stephen Metcalfe MP

More people to get HS2 compensation and help

More residents affected by the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project are to get Government compensation and assistance.

The new deal involves owner-occupiers of homes and small businesses between generally 60 metres and up to 120 metres from the line from London to Birmingham, which will carve through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Those affected can submit an application to HS2 Ltd to purchase their property at the full, unblighted value under the voluntary purchase scheme.

This is the value of the property as if there were no plans for HS2.

As an alternative to the voluntary purchase scheme, these eligible property owners will also have the option to accept a cash offer of 10% of that same value and stay in their homes and businesses. This will support people who want to remain in their community.

Those beyond the 120 metre boundary but within 300 metres of the line in rural areas will, following Royal Assent of the Phase One HS2 Hybrid Bill, be able to apply for a homeowner payment ranging from £7,500 to £22,500.

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More resources for schools taking part in the ITV News election debate

Credit: ITV News

TV News Meridian is delighted to announce that our recently launched 'Election 2015 School Debate' is now being supported by a specially curated selection of resources provided by?Parliament's Education Service.

Parliament’s Education Service works closely with schools and students to inform, engage and empower young people to understand, and get involved in, parliament, politics and democracy.

Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Holly Greenland, Parliament's Learning Resources Manager, said: "The ITV Regional News 'Election 2015 School Debate' project is a great way to help children build debating skills and engage them with the political process, which is?especially relevant in this General Election year.”

To support this project, Parliament’s Education Service has curated a selection of their relevant films and resources to give schools access to useful information for holding a debate, running a mock election and more.?

Just head to Parliament's Education Service websitewhere you'll find all the debate and election resources relevant for your school.

Get involved in the Election 2015 debate

The General election is one of the big stories of 2015. Could there be another coalition? What will be the big issues that decide the outcome here in the Meridian region?

As part of our coverage- we are looking at ways to get the younger generation engaged with politics- so if you're a school pupil or a teacher this may interest you. Here's Fred and Sangeeta to tell you how

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