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Christmas money worries for 1 in 4

More than a quarter of people in our region are worried about how they will afford Christmas this year, according to a new survey.

The Money Advice Service says almost a third of us will turn to credit cards to help fund our celebrations, while 1 in 25 will take out a payday loan.

It is urging shoppers to plan their festive spending carefully, including making a budget, comparing online and high street shops and looking for special offers.

Christmas shoppers should spend wisely Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dairy farmers call for fairer division of milk profits

Some dairy farmers are facing increasing financial hardship as milk prices drop Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

This lunchtime the Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is chairing a meeting to discuss the pressures facing dairy farmers.

Some say the price they're paid for milk has been cut by 20% in the past six months. Mark Humphry, who is chairman of the farmers providing milk to Bruton's Wyke Farms, says he'll soon be selling milk for less than it costs to produce. He blames the supermarkets.

From the milk that we produce in the dairy to the cheese that ends up on your plate, there should be enough margin there if it's shared evenly between the retailer, which is the supermarket, the processor and the farmer. We should all be able to make a living but there is a huge feeling at the moment that the retailer is taking the lion's share of it and not sharing it.

– Mark Humphry, Dairy farmer, Taunton
Mark Humphry is a Somerset dairy farmer


Recruitment Agency say downturn in tourism is greater than other years

Recruitment agency Manpower UK says the downturn in tourism employment across the South West this year is greater now than it has been for years. Manpower UK says their survey shows a majority of employers in the South West won't be taking on new staff.

James Hick is from Manpower UK:

They say the South West will lag behind the rest of the country. The powerhouse of London and the South East are predicted to do well and manufacturing in the East and West Midlands gives the area a huge boost. But employment growth in the South West is predicted to stall.

Manpower UK say some employers have stopped trying to find IT workers, engineers and financiers because they know the skills they're looking for don't exist. Contraction there and saturation of the tourism employment market explains why businesses aren't expecting growth in jobs.

Unemployment rises in the South West

The number of people out of work in the South West has risen despite a decrease in unemployment nationally.

Official figures show the number of unemployed people in the region now stands at 137,000 - an increase of 1,000 from the previous quarter. According to the recruitment group Manpower, employers in the south west say they're unliikely to take on staff over the coming months.

Positive unemployment figures for South West

The latest jobs figures for the South West show 137,000 people were unemployed in our region for the months May to July 2014. This is a slight increase on the previous quarter of February to April when 136,000 were out of work.

The unemployment rate has risen 0.1% to 5.0%, which is still one of the lowest rates it's been for the last 6 years.

Across the whole of the UK unemployment fell by 146,000 to 2.02million in the three months to the end of the July. The unemployment rate fell to 6.2%, its lowest rate since the September to November 2008.


Residents ask for parking restrictions around Southmead Hospital

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson is being urged to introduce parking restrictions on streets surrounding Southmead Hospital

following complaints staff are clogging them up with their cars. The owner of this mobile catering van says her takings are down by half because customers have nowhere to stop.

Southmead Hospital say they're taking measures to ease parking problems

Southmead Hospital say there are measures in place to ease parking problems in the areas surrounding the hospital.

They say the next stage of the Southmead development is to demolish the old buildings, which will make way for a new multi-storey car park for patients and visitors. The existing multi-storey car park will also then be used for staff parking. This will bring the number of spaces on site to 2,700.

We do provide parking for our staff but we regularly remind those that park on the roads around the hospital that they must do so legally, responsibly and courteously.

As an NHS trust we do not have any jurisdiction over parking on the public highway and if cars are parked illegally then we would urge residents to contact the relevant authorities who are able to take action.

The trust gives support for those staff that want, or are prepared to try, alternative ways to get to work and we have seen a steady increase in those choosing to cycle, walk or use public transport.

This includes £1.5million over the next three years to support additional bus services to the hospital.

The number of staff riding their bike to work since the move to Southmead has increased so much that we have had to invest in more cycle storage facilities on site.

Travel roadshows are regularly held to help staff consider alternatives to driving to work, including lift sharing, trying out electric bikes and free cycle training.

– Southmead Hospital

Business owner affected by lack of parking at Southmead Hospital

Elizabeth Pile, owner of Horfield business Lizzie's Kitchen Credit: ITV West Country/Richard Payne

A mobile cafe owner based in Horfield says she is struggling to access her pitch in the mornings because hospital staff are having to park on residential streets.

Elizabeth Pile, owner of Lizzie's Kitchen, says she is having to get up at 4am to access her pitch before hospital shift workers arrive, and is losing business because customers can't park in the surrounding area.

Horfield business Lizzie's Kitchen is losing trade due to a lack of available street parking in the area Credit: ITV West Country/Richard Payne

A lack of on-site car parking provision at the new £430 million Southmead Hospital has resulted in patients, staff and visitors resorting to use the already crowded nearby residential streets.

Conservative Councillor for Horfield Claire Hiscott is now calling on the Mayor to take urgent action to resolve the parking free-for-all which she says is causing stress and tension levels to rise in her ward.

I was amazed to learn from Council Officials that there appears to be no means of helping this small business even to protect the space from which it is supposed to trade.

Lizzie's Kitchen is an established feature on Horfield Common and I would be dismayed if it was forced to go under due to no fault of her own.

The financial hit she is taking is directly attributable to the failure to properly plan for car parking at the hospital or do anything practical about its aftermath. Therefore, I think there is at least a moral obligation on the Authority to provide Lizzie with some licence fee reduction.

I fear only the intervention of the Mayor can help now to save this well-loved local enterprise from going out of business.

What was once a thriving, buzzing part of Horfield now resembles something of a ghost town.

Unless simple parking restrictions are urgently introduced here, we will lose a popular roadside café and see the children's play park remain virtually abandoned.

– Cllr Claire Hiscott
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