The Ministry of Defence has delivered some of the most technologically advanced and well-supported helicopter fleets in the world over the last year it's been announced by the Defence Minister on his visit to RAF Benson today.
In the last 12 months,the Puma Mk2, Merlin Mk2, Chinook Mk6 and both the Royal Navy and British Army Wildcats have all been declared ready for operational use. There will be new Chinooks and Wildcats for the Armed Forces and modifications have been made to the existing Pumas.
As a result, UK forces now have new military capabilities that can be deployed around the world. The Merlin Mk2 is currently delivering support in Sierra Leone to tackle the spread of Ebola, the Puma Mk2 is preparing to contribute to NATO’s training and assistance mission in Afghanistan and the Royal Navy Wildcat is deploying for global maritime operations.
Along with making huge savings for the taxpayer, the government has invested some £6billion to sustain and improve our helicopter capability over the last four years. We will continue this investment with a further £11 billion budgeted to be spent over the next decade. I am grateful for the important role played by industry in these successes, particularly by our helicopter prime contractors. There is no doubt that the work across these businesses and their supply chains has brought huge benefits to the UK economy, with around 4,000 jobs sustained in Britain.
Philip Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, is at RAF Benson today in Oxfordshire to see the new capabilities of its helicopters. He'll be outlining the MoD's progress on new helicopters for the armed forces. The Oxfordshire base is home to the new Puma helicopter - which can fly faster and further than its predecessor.
A defence minister, Philip Dunne, is visiting RAF Benson today to outline progress on delivering increased levels of helicopter capability.Read the full story ›
Drivers in Brighton and Hove are being urged to use their mobile phones to pay for parking. The city council is removing half of all ticket machines to save money. But some motorists fear the change will make parking more difficult for those without mobiles. Malcolm Shaw spoke to Jason Kitcat, the Green leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, and Steve Percy of People's Parking Protest.
A new university technical college, which will cater for 14-19 year olds, has been approved by the government today.
More than 600 school places will be created in Portsmouth, as part of a £67 million cash boost nationwide to support the next generation of engineers.
The college will work together with the Royal Navy to train up future generations to become engineers and manufacturers and help the local economy's growth.
The new university technical college is set to put local employers in the driving seat – allowing them to develop technical learning plans that will ensure young people have the skills to meet the needs of these growing industries.
The plans announced today will raise standards in maths and physics further to ensure more children leave school with these valuable skills and can go on to compete for the top jobs and succeed in life.
We want to attract more high quality candidates to teach maths and physics and further raise the status of teaching as a rewarding career. By offering more flexible routes, we will open up the teaching profession to talented career changers who can bring a wealth of experience and transferrable skills to the classroom."
A full house of guests from 5 political parties discussing the issues of the day...just 63 days to go before the election: Tim Aker (UKIP), Caroline Lucas (Green), Tim Loughton (Con) Caroline Flint (Lab) and Stephen Lloyd (Lib Dem).
Councillors and senior public officials could go to prison for up to five years if they fail to protect children from sexual exploitation, under new plans being considered by the government.
Under the proposals, being considered by David Cameron and currently subject to consultation, the crime of "wilful neglect" will be extended to cover children's social care and education.
Individuals and organisations found to have let children down could also face unlimited fines if the plans are passed into law.
The measures have been announced as the Prime Minister chairs a child protection summit of police officials and local authorities at Downing Street after a series of damning reports detailed the sexual exploitation of up to 1,4000 children over many years in Rotherham.
Child sex abuse has been has been prioritised as a "national threat", putting it on a par with serious and organised crime and meaning police forces, chief constables and police and crime commissioners have a duty to collaborate with each other across boundaries to safeguard children.
The measures come as a serious case review into on child sexual exploitation in Oxford is expected to show opportunities were missed to prevent the abuse.
The leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband will be in Sussex today taking questions from people in Brighton and Hove.
He'll also be in Hastings and Rye in the afternoon.
We'll find out how he got on in Meridian Tonight at 6pm
UKIP MEP Diane James has dropped her bid to enter parliament at the general election for "personal reasons".Read the full story ›
UKIP's annual conference ended in Margate today with the Party claiming it was more united than ever. Outside the venue there were scuffles between anti-UKIP protesters and competing protesters from the far right. There were no injuries but police say a woman was arrested on suspicion of common assault. The march though was largely peaceful and attracted about 250 people. We hear from UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Transport spokeswoman Jill Seymour.