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More than a third are paid less than the living wage

More than 1 in 3 people in the region earn less than a living wage Credit: PA

Kingswood in South Gloucestershire has the highest number of people earning below the living wage in the South West.

More than half of its population are paid less than the amount deemed necessary to live on - which is currently set at £7.85 an hour.

According to the Trades Union Congress, more than a third of jobs in the region pay a lower wage than this.

Are we in the midst of the longest wage squeeze on record?

Average pay in the South West fell by nearly £300 last year, according to new figures published by the Trades Union Congress.

They say the average full-time employee wage in the region has fallen by more than £2000 since 2010. The TUC also claim workers have endured the longest wage squeeze since records began in the 1850s.

Average pay is down, according to new figures Credit: PA

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Cheltenham Banksy scaffolding mysteriously removed

Spy Booth scaffolding mysteriously removed Credit: ITV West Country/Ken Goodwin

Scaffolding and cladding which covered Cheltenham's famous Banksy, known as the spies, has been taken down today.

The art work, on the side of a house in Fairview road, was covered up after it was vandalised.

Local people had hoped to raise enough money to save the work for the town. A spokesman for The Bankrobber gallery in london, which had erected the scaffolding in the first place, says that it is no longer prepared to pay to protect the work.

Bankrobber is throwing down the gauntlet to the good people of cheltenham, in short we are no longer prepared to pay to protect the work?. So it's time for someone else to put their hands in their pockets. If not it will inevitably fall foul to both the elements and the vindictive souls ?who wish it ill.

– Robin Barton, Bankrobber Art Gallery
The Bankrobber Art Gallery paid for the scaffolding to prevent further damage Credit: ITV West Country/Ken Goodwin
Bankrobber Gallery no longer prepared to pay to protect the work Credit: ITV West Country/Ken Goodwin

How does debt affect you?

New figures show that more people than ever are struggling with debt in the South West Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

How does debt affect you? New figures show that more people than ever are struggling with debt in the South West.

ITV West Country wants to know if this affects you! Do you struggle to manage your money? Or do you think its easy to stay on top of your bills?

Please comment on our Facebook page and don't forget to mention your location.

https://www.facebook.com/ITVWestcountry

Rise in numbers of people struggling with debt

A fifth more people are struggling with debt than last year Credit: PA

The number of people struggling with debt in the South West is on the rise.

That's according to the charity StepChange, which says its helpline was contacted by more than 14,000 people in the region in 2014 - a rise of 20% since 2013.

On average, those contacting the charity were £11,000 in debt.

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Multi-million pound growth deal signed for Swindon

Nick Clegg signs multi-million pound contract in Swindon Credit: ITV West Country

The Deputy Prime Minister has been in Swindon to sign a contract that will bring up to one thousand five hundred jobs to the area.

The growth deal will mean more than £129 million investment in the region. It will see 2000 homes being built by 2021. The plan also include new transport schemes and a science park at Porton Down.

Residents unhappy at being charged for their cash

A Bristol MP is calling for more 'free to use' cash machines in poorer communities. It follows a campaign in the Lockleaze area, where there is only one cash machine, which charges £1.85 for each withdrawal.

The nearest free ones are more than half a mile away, and residents say they're being ripped off.

Local MP Charlotte Leslie is calling on the banks and the government to help.

Richard Payne reports:

A spokesperson for the operator Cardtronics has told ITV News:

Only those cash machines that attract a large number of transactions are able to make enough money to cover operating costs such as maintenance and cash loading, without charging the consumer directly.

Where the ATM is in a convenience store - like this machine in Lockleaze - there is a significant additional operating cost in the shape of business rates, which local councils levy against ‘through-the-wall’ ATMs. In these cases ATM surcharges are used to ensure the machine remains in operation as the rates can amount to many thousands of pounds each year.

Cardtronics is in conversation with both Charlotte Leslie MP and Cllr. Gill Kirk to discuss this particular ATM site and the business rates issue, as well as additional viable options for new cash machines in the nearby area.

– Cardtronics spokesperson

Campaign for free cash withdrawals in less affluent parts of Bristol

The cash machine in Lockleaze charges £1.85 for withdrawals Credit: ITV News

A campaign is underway for free cash withdrawals in less well-off communities in Bristol.

North Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie says: "Despite numbering around 10,000 people, the residents of Lockleaze live in what is euphemistically called an “Outstanding Financial Inclusion Area” – that is, a place that is more than 1km away from the nearest free cash machine."

Lockleaze’s only ATM is in a shop on Gainsborough Square, which charges £1.85 for every cash withdrawal.

Charlotte Leslie says: "£1.85 is an inconvenience for anyone, but if you are on £72.40 jobseeker’s allowance that £1.85 a couple of times a week is a massive financial hit."

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