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Labour accused of letting 'cat out of the bag' on income tax

Ed Balls speaking to Ian Axton on Tuesday's ITV News West Country

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has been criticised by the Tories for his comments on our programme yesterday, in which he refused to rule out lowering the 40p tax rate threshold if Labour get into power.

According to the Daily Mail, Chancellor George Osborne described the comments as confirming "a tax assault on middle earners".

Ed Balls has let the cat out of the bag ... He has confirmed that he and Ed Miliband will put up taxes on middle Britain. It is part of Labour's £3,000 tax rise for working families. By contrast, the Conservative plan is to increase to £50,000 the threshold at which people pay the higher rate of tax.

– George Osborne

The paper reports a Labour spokesman describing the Conservative proposal as "completely unfunded", and saying the party's spending plans could lead to an increase in VAT and cuts to the NHS.

Working people are paying more under this government, which is why the only tax changes we are proposing are on the very richest in society like reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.

– Labour Party spokesman

The Shadow Chancellor's original comments:

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The West Country April Fools

Dino-chicks from Noah's Ark Zoo Farm Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

From dinosaur chicks to texting lanes in shopping centres - there were plenty of imaginative April Fool jokes in the West Country today. Longleat started the ball rolling with their spoof idea of bubble wrap to protect cars from marauding monkeys at the Wiltshire Safari Park.

Texting lanes for shoppers? Credit: Clarks Shopping Village
No monkey business at Longleat Credit: Longleat Safari Park

Clarks Shopping Village at Street in Somerset provided convincing pictures of their texting lanes for shoppers - an idea that might gain some credibility with people sick of swerving to avoid phone addicts. And Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in North Somerset claimed to have bred the missing link between dinosaurs and birds. Elsewhere, the Bristol Post reported that cyclists were being recruited to escort lorries through Bristol city centre to make roads safer.

Hinkley Point protestors removed by police

All clear at the entrance to Hinkley Point Credit: ITV News West Country

Police say protestors blocking the entrance to Hinkley Point were removed at 9.15am. Ten anti nuclear campaigners from several organisations including South West Against Nuclear and CND arrived at 6.30am to block the road. Three linked themselves together with their arms inside metal tubes. They were removed after specialist cutting gear was brought in.

Dino-chicks born in North Somerset animal park - are they the missing link?

Is this the missing link? Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Scientists are investigating claims that a zoo in North Somerset has become the first to successfully breed a missing link between dinosaur and bird species, named Tielosaur.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm says it kept a special breeding programme under wraps after careful research. Using privately sourced prehistoric genetic material, the zoo claims to have made a successful attempt to breed two reptile-bird species long since extinct.

‘Tielosaur’ and the second, tentatively called ‘Velocisaur’ after physical similarity to the well-known meat eating dinosaur Velociraptor were bred in incubators usually used for the zoos birds of prey and farm yard fowl.

Keepers and research staff are said to be celebrating the successful hatching of four dino-chicks which are being closely monitored in controlled conditions.

Ovens signs new contract with Bristol Rugby

Josh Ovens pictured playing for his previous club Bath Credit: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Bristol Rugby have extended their contract with Josh Ovens. The flanker's been given a new one-year deal after an impressive performance in the 2014/15 season.

Ovens made nine appearances for the first team this season, scoring three times. He originally joined Bristol at the beginning of the 2011/12 campaign from Bath on a season-long loan, making 21 appearances in his first season in the blue and white hoops.

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Pay to park glitch in Somerset

Teething problems mean a new phone and pay system due to come into force today in parts of Somerset is not working.

The phone and pay app for smartphones was due to be operational in Taunton and Wellington. Somerset County Council says the company responsible is trying to fix it.

In the meantime motorists can call 01823 210302 to pay and this will also activate the app.

Anti-nuclear protest at Hinkley Point

Protestors block the road near Hinkley B Credit: No New Nuclear

Anti-nuclear protestors have been staging a sit-down protest near Hinkley Point in Somerset. Campaigners from South-west Against Nuclear, Nuclear Free Bristol & Bristol CND say they're carrying out the action against plans to extend the operation of the ageing 'B' reactor.

Police at the scene as traffic builds up Credit: No New Nuclear

Police warning over theft of hazardous metal in Yeovil

Cadmium anode balls were stolen in the theft Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Police are warning that metal stolen from a factory in Yeovil could pose a health risk to the public. They say a large quantity of cadmium was taken from South West Metal Finishing in Limber Road on Monday night.

The cadmium anode balls were removed from chemical trays. Anyone who comes into contact with them is advised not to touch them and should seek medical attention should they have done so.

One of the suspects captured on CCTV Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Cadmium is carcinogenic. Low-level exposure can result in flu-like symptoms, but more extensive contact can cause lung and kidney disease. Detectives are hunting two suspects who were captured on CCTV around the time of the theft.

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