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Stamp duty reforms 'helped boost housing market'

Radical reforms in stamp duty have helped boost the housing market, experts have said.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said the changes - which see stamp duty increased gradually alongside the cost of the house, rather than increasing in large 'steps' - are responsible for a predicted rise in house prices, coupled with a lack of homes to choose from.

Under a revised system unveiled and launched earlier this month, the vast majority of buyers will pay less stamp duty - though it means people buying homes at the top end of the market will pay significantly more.

Read: Stamp duty reforms: How the new rules will affect you

Read: Buyers beware? The hidden costs of stamp duty reform


House prices outside London 'to see biggest rises' in 2015

House prices in the north west, south east, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside are set to shoot up by five per cent in the coming year - while property in the capital will remain level, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said.

It comes as further research from property analyst Hometrack found that house prices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham had grown at a faster rate than London over the three months to November.

The predictions come from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Credit: PA

The RICS predictions state that Northern Ireland and Scotland will see overall increases of four per cent, while the east of England, the East Midlands and the north east are set to see rises of three per cent.

House prices in Wales and the south west are expected to rise by two per cent.

London is the only region due to see no overall rise at all, though property experts have warned of massive fluctuations between different areas of the capital.

Baby found dead in gorge 'was identified by wristband'

A four-day-old baby who was found dead with her mother at Avon Gorge in Bristol was identified by her hospital wristband, an inquest has heard.

Flowers left near to where the bodies of Charlotte Bevan and her daughter Zaani Tiana were found. Credit: ITV News

Avon Coroner's Court was told post-mortem examinations had been carried out on Charlotte Bevan and her daughter, Zaani Tiana, by a Home Office registered pathologist, but further tests were required.

No members of Ms Bevan's family were present at the 10 minute hearing, which was opened by Assistant Coroner Dr Peter Harrowing.

  1. West Country (E)

Inquest: Mother and baby 'found lifeless after falling'

Charlotte Bevan

An inquest has opened and been adjourned into the death of a mother and baby who's bodies were found in the Avon Gorge in Bristol.

No cause of death was given at the inquest in Flax Bourton, but coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said that both bodies were "found lifeless after apparently falling". The inquest will be held on April 16.

Thirty-year-old Charlotte Bevan left St Michael's Hospital in Bristol with four-day-old Zaani Tiana at around 9pm on December 2. CCTV footage showed the new mother leaving the hospital without a coat, wearing hospital slippers, carrying her daughter in a blanket.

Search teams located the bodies of Ms Bevan and Zaani on the Avon Gorge on December 3 and 4 respectively.

Inquest into baby and mother found dead in gorge to open

An inquest into the deaths of a mother and newborn baby found dead after going missing from a maternity hospital is due to open today.

Charlotte Bevan Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

New mother Charlotte Bevan, aged 30, walked out of St Michael's Hospital in Bristol with four-day-old Zaani Tiana on December 2, wearing hospital slippers and no coat.

They were both found in the Avon Gorge in the following days.

A funeral for the pair will be held at Christ Church in Clifton at 1pm on Friday.


Body of baby girl who went missing with mother identified

The body of a baby girl who went missing with her mother has been formally identified as missing Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck, police said.

A CCTV image of Charlotte Bevan leaving a Bristol hospital with her four-day-old daughter. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Her body was discovered in the same area of the Avon Gorge in Bristol as her mother Charlotte Bevan, who suffered from mental health issues.

Ms Bevan, 30, and her four-day-old daughter vanished from St Michael's Hospital on Tuesday.

CCTV images showed Bevan walking in hospital slippers with her daughter Zaani wrapped in a blanket out of the hospital.

Twelve police staff face Ebrahimi misconduct claims

Twelve police staff face misconduct proceedings following a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the treatment of Bijan Ebrahimi.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary will issue disciplinary proceedings against a police sergeant and four members of police control room staff over claims of gross misconduct.

Five other officers and two members of police control room staff will also face action over alleged misconduct.

One more member of police control room would have faced gross misconduct but has resigned from the force.

One other police constable who had been subject to investigation was found to have no case to answer.

The IPCC said it is looking at six years of police contact with Ebrahimi prior to his death.

Ebrahimi family 'relieved' as police officers charged

Bijan Ebrahimi was beaten to death and his body set on fire in 2013.

The family of a disabled man who was brutally murdered because some neighbours wrongly believed he was a paedophile have said they are "relieved" after charges were announced against police officers over his treatment.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James in Bristol on 14 July last year after his neighbours wrongly believed the claims.

James, of Capgrave Crescent, Brislington, was given a life sentence for murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, received four years in prison for assisting an offender.

Three police constables and a police community support officer have today been charged with misconduct in a public office following the death.

In a statement, Ebrahimi's family: "We are relieved by this decision and trust the officers will now face the full rigour of the law."

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