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Workers in Kingswood earn less than living wage

Today is the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the national minimum wage Credit: PA

Nearly half of people on the borders of Bristol earn less than the living wage, according to a survey by the TUC.

Kingswood tops a national list of places where workers are paid less than £7.65 an hour. The survey's been produced to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the minimum wage.

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West Country (W)

Bishops' welfare letter: Your comments

The following are a selection of viewers' comments taken from the ITV West Country Facebook page.

If you went through the last war and survived during the fifties when there was a real food shortage then you'd know what it was really like. People today throw away so much food that can be used.

– Alan Cottrell

Always find it funny how religious leaders are always answering questions nobody was asking of them. When they are properly elected government officials they can make demands. Until then, their opinions carry no more weight than yours or mine. However, as leaders of such large organisations, if they want to take the responsibility of helping out and giving money and/or services for charitable purposes (as you or I could equally do if we had the time or money), then that would be very commendable.

– Ian Lovell

I am nearly 60, so was brought up in a home without central heating, knew what it was to survive off jam sandwiches if Dad's pay did not stretch to a whole week, did not have any luxury goods at all. I feel less inclined to have sympathy when people buy beer and cigarettes before food and then go down the food banks for their groceries. Welfare was set up surely as a safety net rather than a way of life. I am really sorry for genuine cases who are struggling, but [...] it does not help when headlines show families on welfare getting five times my income and I still work to support myself.

– Yvon Abbott

West Country bishops attack Govt welfare cuts

The Rt Revd Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester, speaking in the House of Lords Credit: PA

The Bishops of Salisbury, Gloucester, Taunton, Swindon and Bristol have joined other senior clergy in urging the Government to reconsider welfare cuts, saying the system's failures and cut backs have led to an increase in people using food banks.

Their letter, signed by 24 Anglican bishops, as well as senior clergy from other denominations, says the Government must ensure the welfare system provides an adequate safety net, and that salaries are high enough for a decent standard of living.

Arena gets green light at council's budget meeting

Work can now begin on the £91m arena. Credit: Bristol City Council

Bristol's long-awaited indoor arena has tonight been given the green light by councillors.

George Ferguson's £83m of budget cuts were approved after Labour backed him with amendments of more than a million pounds.

The £91m arena will be built on land close to Temple Meads, with the council having to find only £15m of that total. Work on a new bridge to the site will now begin in the next couple of weeks.

Also at tonight's budget meeting, councillors agreed a council tax increase of 2%.

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Arena plans poised for approval

A £91million arena for Bristol could be given the go-ahead later. Funding for the 12,000 seater venue on the former diesel depot by Temple Meads station is being discussed at a council budget meeting this afternoon.

Reports suggest that it could bring tens of millions of pounds of economic benefit to the area each year. It's due to open in summer 2017.

Artist's impression of Bristol's arena Credit: ITV News West Country

Bristol Arena is backed by Local Enterprise Partnership

How the Bristol Arena might look Credit: Bristol City Council

The Local Enterprise Partnership agreed to support Bristol’s Arena from its City Deal Economic Development Fund at a meeting of its Board today. A report presented to the Board suggests that the Bristol Arena could bring tens of millions of pounds to the Bristol econoy each year.

George Ferguson Mayor of Bristol said: “It's very encouraging that the Local Enterprise Partnership recognises the importance of using the City Deal funding for the development of an arena which will give a massive boost to the local economy.

The arena is estimated to cost £91 million to build. £53 million will come from the Local Enterprise Partnership and the remaining £38 million is expected to come back to the council from operator rental and other related income.

The full funding package was approved by Cabinet on 16th January and will go to Full Council on 18 February as part of the council’s budget proposals. If approved at Full Council then work will begin in the Spring to appoint an operator.

Could you be a millionaire and not know it?

The two winning tickets were drawn in the EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle on 26 July 2013 Credit: PA

Two people who bought lottery tickets in Gloucester and Bristol last July could be millionaires and not know it. And time's running out - the deadline to claim is 11pm tonight. If you think you it could be you, check out the National Lottery website here.

The missing tickets were two of 100 winning tickets drawn in the EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle on 26 July.

If no-one comes forward the prize money, plus interest, will go to the National Lottery Good Causes.

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