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  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Council wants school meals tested for horsemeat

Checks are to be made on the content of school dinners supplied to hundreds of children in the South East - to see if the food contains horsemeat.

Kent County Council wants food distributed to 200 of its schools examined. While education officials in both Sussex and Essex want their suppliers to give them detailed information about how their meat is sourced. It will take up to six weeks for the results of the tests to come through.

It is unclear tonight what action is being taken by many schools outside local authority control. David Johns reports. His interviewees are Headteacher Tanya O'Connor, Councillor Mike Whiting from Kent County Council, and Julian Rutherford - a school meals supplier.


Kent budget cuts: full report

For the third year running council tax in Kent will be frozen. But it will mean the loss of at least another one hundred jobs - and a raid on emergency funds.

The county council - one of the biggest in Britain - is slashing its spending by nearly ninety million pounds to balance the books after cuts in government grants.

John Ryall talks to Kent County Council's leader, Paul Carter and Councillor John Simmonds.

Kent's budget: council's comments

Kent County Council Budget: latest headlines

Kent County Council's HQ where the media conference is taking place Credit: ITV News Meridian

Kent County Council has announced it needs to lose 100 posts as part of a drive to save £16 million.

It needs to make £90 million of savings in total from a budget of just over £1 billion

Leader Paul Carter says some of the job losses will come through natural wastage and that many would be from back office positions. He's stated that there would be little impact on frontline services.


Kent pledges to spend an extra £6.2m on road repairs

Kent County Council says it will spend another £6.2 million pounds on improving the county's roads.

The pledge follows a cash boost from the government which is divided into £4m in the year 2013/2014 and £2.2m for 2014/2015. The funding was announced by the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

The local authority says the investment will reinforce its approach to road maintenance which was backed by the AA last week. The council's Cabinet agreed to spend an extra £6m on resurfacing and renewing roads six months ago, in addition to this year's £17m roads resurfacing budget.

Kent County Council said the county completed 14,885 jobs to repair potholes in 2012, with crews out on the county's roads fixing the holes within an average of 14 days. The local authority says that is a 44% improvement on the previous year.

“This is welcome funding that dovetails exactly with the new approach to maintaining our roads. Over the past two years or so, we invested significantly in repairing the network and this has then been protected by sealing and surfacing dressing the roads. This makes the roads last longer and is a better use of council taxpayers’ money than constantly being on the back foot having to repair roads, which only increases congestion and costs more money in the long term.”

– Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Roads

“The condition of the roads is a top of motoring concern of our members. We have campaigned for many years to make sure councils have in place a system of roads inspection and repair that covers the frequency and method of inspection by road type; the type and size of defects that will be repaired; and the timeframe within which repairs will be completed once the council becomes aware of any defect. We therefore warmly welcome the transparent approach taken by Kent County Council to maintaining and improving its roads.

“It is vital that Kent residents get value for money value from the multi-million pound investment in road repairs and renewal making council tax payers’ money go further whilst also improving road resilience and the driving experience. Kent’s roads maintenance programme is aimed at doing just this.”

– Paul Watters, Head of Roads Policy at the Automobile Association

Controversial campaign to lure teachers - full report

Come to Kent: it's better here. That's the message of a controversial new online campaign designed to lure teachers away from neighbouring counties. It focuses on the lifestyle on offer in the Garden of England - but also offers the chance for teachers from elsewhere to win trips.

Kent County Council launched the recruitment drive in response to a shortage of specialist teachers but it's angered neighbouring regions, as Sarah Saunders reports.

She speaks to executive head teacher Alan Brookes, Robert Wilkinson, division secretary of the NUT Wokingham, and Cllr Mike Whiting, from Kent County Council.

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