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Chancellor to deliver first Tory Budget since 1996

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The Chancellor, George Osborne, will deliver the summer Budget later today.

It's the first Budget to be delivered by a Conservative government since 1996.

The Budget is expected to reflect many of the policies outlined in the Tory manifesto.

George Osborne is expected to include policies on:

  • Raising the 40p tax threshold to £50,000
  • Inheritance tax threshold will increase to £1m for couples by 2017
  • Benefits cap per household will fall to £20,000
  • Sunday trading laws to be extended to more than six hours
  • Reform to welfare benefits including tax credits

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MP trust 'declines over distance'

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Voters' trust in Westminster politicians falls the further away from London they live, according to a new survey.

While almost a quarter of those questioned in London (23%) said they would trust politicians in Westminster to allocate spending within their region, the level is lower in the regions and devolved nations:

  • 19% in the East of England
  • 17% in the South of England
  • 15% in the Midlands
  • 14% in Scotland and the North of England
  • 13% in Wales
  • 2% in Northern Ireland

Unveiling the survey as its annual conference opened in London, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) called for more devolution of spending and revenue-raising powers away from Westminster to the regions and nations of the UK.

As trust ebbs away from Whitehall, politicians in Westminster urgently need to make sure that they are empowering and equipping local leaders with the both the means and the powers to ensure that devolution works for local communities.

Westminster cannot just devolve the risk of spending reductions without also devolving the responsibility for raising revenue to meet local demand.

– Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive Cipfa

The survey asked around 2,000 people across the UK.

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Call for Welsh towns to have 20% tree canopy cover

Credit: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/PA Images

The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is launching a petition calling for all cities, towns and villages in Wales to have a minimum 20% tree canopy cover.

It also backs the planting of native trees which, it says, can provide a habitat and nectar source for pollinators and fruit trees which will provide a sustainable source of food.

Credit: Marijan Murat/DPA/PA Images

It says the tree canopy cover in Wales varies dramatically, from just 4.5% in Fochriw in Caerphilly to 34% in Trimsaran in Carmarthenshire.

It also cites a study in Wrexham, last year, which, it says, showed trees save the local economy £1.3m every year by:

  • Intercepting 27 million litres of rainfall from entering the drainage system, the equivalent of saving £460,000 in sewerage charges.
  • Absorbing 1,329 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Improving health by removing 60 tonnes of air pollution, saving the health services £700,000.

People often refer to the more attractive areas of towns as being ‘leafy’. Areas like this can provide a more attractive and healthy environment for people to live and work in, for all kinds of reasons.

We want everyone to benefit from trees, so we’re working to persuade local authorities around Wales to plant more trees where people live.

– Angharad Evans, Campaigns Officer
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