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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

Man charged in connection with spate of sex attacks

There have been 12 attacks in the Southampton area in the past fortnight Credit: ITV Meridian

Police investigating a spate of sex attacks in Southampton have charged a man.

In the past fortnight there have been 12 assaults in Millbrook, Lordshill and the city centre.

Daniel Randall-Coles who's 25 and of Millbrook Road West has tonight been charged with 20 counts of sexual assault.

He'll appear before magistrates in Southampton tomorrow.

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190 jobs to go - £40m cuts needed in Southampton

Almost 200 jobs are to go - and some services will be merged as Southampton City Council, once again, struggles to balance its books. Today, council leaders confirmed the scale of the savings needed.

One hundred and ninety jobs will be axed this year, with 40 posts to go immediately. Council tax in the area will rise by almost two percent - for the fourth year running. There is a £12 million financial black hole, and the authority needs to save £40 million over the next four years. Juliette Fletcher reports.

The interviewees are Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council, Labour; and Hayley Garner from the Unison trade union.

Disruption on South West trains till 11am

Trains running between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth are expected to be subject to delays until at least 11am today according to South West Trains.

The line was closed last night due to flooding causing major disruption for passengers. Although the line has been reopened trains are subject to speed restrictions.

  • Trains between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth are being delayed by up to 30 minutes
  • Electric trains are unable to run from Southampton to Bournemouth, buses are replacing these trains
  • South West Trains passengers travelling to intermediate stations from Southampton should travel via Bournemouth. Passengers travelling to Bournemouth from intermediate stations should travel via Southampton
  • Some services may be cancelled due to trains not been in the correct place at the end of service last night

South West Trains has apologised for the disruption and suggested that their passengers may use CrossCountry between Southampton and Bournemouth.

The hashtag on social media for the incident is #Brockenhurst.

The routes affected are:

CrossCountry between Manchester Piccadilly / Birmingham New Street and Bournemouth.

South West Trains between London Waterloo and Weymouth and between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier

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Search underway to find two missing brothers

A search is underway to trace two missing boys from Southampton.

Jobie Cross who's 15, and his 11-year-old brother Michael were last seen on Wednesday afternoon in the Bitterne area.

Police say they are growing increasingly concerned for their welfare and are asking for the public's help to find them.

It's believed the brothers are still in the Southampton area.

Jobie Cross was last seen with his brother Michael on Wednesday Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

Jobie is described as:

• White • 5ft 6 • Brown hair • Brown eyes • Slender build

Wearing:

• Casual clothing; hoodie, tracksuit bottoms, chequered jacket, caterpillar workman boots. • Wears gold sovereign rings.

Michael, who is believed to be with Jobie, is described as:

• White • Approx. 4ft 10 / 4ft 11 • Mousy brown hair • Left ear pierced with stud. • Short bitten finger nails • Blue eyes • Large build

Wearing:

• Hoodie and tracksuit bottoms.

Motorcyclist suffers serious head injures in crash

Police are appealing for witnesses following a crash involving a motorcycle and a bicycle on The Avenue in Southampton in the early hours of this morning.

Two motorcycles were travelling north along The Avenue when one of them collided with the bicycle, which was travelling north and turning right into Highfield Road.

The 22-year-old man riding the motorcycle has sustained serious head injuries and the 22-year-old woman riding the bicycle has two broken legs.

Hopes fade for the return of the liner QE2

The QE2 sails down the Solent Credit: ITV news

Campaigners hoping to bring the QE2 back to the UK have admitted it's now unlikely she will ever return. The Southampton based ship was sold to owners in Dubai for £60 million in 2008 . But plans to turn her into a luxury hotel and conference centre fell through because of the economic downturn. Her owners say reports that she was going to be scrapped are untrue and new plans for her future will be announced shortly.

Launched by the Queen in 1967, QE2 carried the rich and famous from Southampton to New York. She also played a vital role during the Falklands campaign carrying troops to the conflict. Councils, politicians and business leaders in Greenock, Scotland were leading a campaign to buy back the former Cunard ship.

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