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  1. Nick Powell

Budget 2015: VAT on Severn tolls to end

The Wales Office has confirmed that Seven Bridges tolls are expected to fall when the crossings return to public ownership because VAT would no longer be levied. The tax represents just over £1 of the present £6.50 toll for cars and more than £3 of the £19.60 paid by lorries. The Chancellor also announced that the present £13.10 for small vans and buses would be reduced to the same toll as is charged for cars.

Today's announcement is great news for small businesses but also for the many hardworking people in South Wales who cross the Severn Bridge every day for work. We are determined to do everything possible to support the Welsh economy by improving connectivity in all ways, from road to rail through to strong electronic links.

– Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns MP

The private company that built the Second Severn Crossing will hand back the tolls when the construction costs have been paid off. That's now expected to happen in 2018.


Budget 2015: Impact of income tax allowance rise in Wales

More than 1.2 million people in Wales will see an average real term gain of more than £500, following George Osborne's announcement to raise the income tax threshold.

During the Budget speech, he said personal tax-free allowance will increase to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after.

  1. Nick Powell

Chancellor pre-empts Welsh Government on Severn tolls

George Osborne's promise of a cut in the tolls on the Severn Bridges suggests that if he stays in office after the election he'll deny the Welsh Government control of the crossings when they return to public ownership. First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that if he had the power, he would reduce but not abolish the tolls, using the income to pay for M4 improvements as wells as maintaining the two bridges.

Budget 2015: UK government 'opening negotiations' on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the UK government is "opening negotiations on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon."

£1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project aims to generate power for 120,000 homes. Credit: Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc

The Chancellor also said "We are giving more power to Wales. We are working on a Cardiff city deal" - but with no more detail.

Budget 2015: Severn tolls to be cut from 2018

The UK Government estimates there are 1.3 million van crossings of the Severn Bridge every year Credit: PA

Toll rates for the Severn Crossing will be reduced from 2018, George Osborne has announced.

He said:

"Severn crossings are a vital link for Wales - we will reduce the toll rates from 2018 and abolish the higher band for small vans and buses."


Rogue builder jailed for 'preying on elderly and vulnerable'

A rogue builder has been jailed for 15 months, after charging an elderly woman £140,000 for repairs to her house worth just £6,000.

Ronnie Connors, 39, moved in when he saw weeds growing through paving on the pensioner's driveway in Rhiwbina, Cardiff - but warned there were more problems, and tricked her into paying for work on rendering, an almost rebuilt garage, gutter and weatherboard replacement.

Ronnie Connors was described in court as 'a rogue trader preying on the elderly and vulnerable.' Credit: Wales News Service

Prosecutor Lee Reynolds told Cardiff Crown Court: "By the time she had paid out between £70,000 and £90,000 she lost track and later told police 'they just kept finding things to do.'"

An expert estimated the work done needed should have cost £6,000.

The court heard that Connors lives in a mansion outside Cardiff, and had bought several new cars.

He had also overcharged two other elderly victims.

Connors admitted three charges of aggressive business practice and had to repay the money.

Recorder George Bull told Connors: "You are a thoroughly dishonest businessman preying on people and you chose your victims carefully. It was despicable conduct and your should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself."

  1. National

Osborne's budget to help create 'truly national recovery'

In a statement released ahead of his Budget, Chancellor George Osborne has vowed to deliver a Budget that will help create a "truly national recovery".

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