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Local govt campaigner takes his fight to Somerset CC

David Orr is campaigning for a fairer system in local government Credit: ITV News

A local government campaigner will speak to Somerset County Council today to try to persuade it not to arrange long term appointments with people who work for their own limited companies.

David Orr says the current system allows the very highly paid to pay a lower rate of tax.

GCHQ head denies "mass surveillance"

GCHQ at Cheltenham Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The outgoing head of GCHQ, the Government listening centre at Cheltenham, has issued an impassioned defence of its work, insisting it did not engage in "anything remotely resembling mass surveillance".

Sir Iain Lobban, who retires later this month after six years in charge, used his valedictory address to pay tribute to his staff, some of whom he said had made "the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty" - although he gave no further details.

After a tumultuous year overshadowed by the disclosures of the former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden, he insisted GCHQ was committed to the protection of the public from "the plotters, the proliferators and the paedophiles" who exploited the "darkest places" of the internet.

While he acknowledged that tracking down perpetrators online meant accessing the internet "at scale", he said that his organisation was committed to delivering security while protecting privacy "to the greatest extent possible".

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Councillor says bedroom tax is affecting the vulnerable

A Stroud councillor says the so-called bedroom tax is hitting the most vulnerable people in society Credit: ITV News

The so-called bedroom tax - otherwise known as the under-occupancy charge - is hitting the most vulnerable people in society, according to a councillor in Stroud.

It was introduced to try to free up under-occupied properties for families but campaigners say it should be scrapped. The Green party in Stroud says that the bedroom tax is hitting the wrong people.

Former MP: Browne resignation timing 'really bad'

It's good that MPs don't think being a Member of Parliament is a job for life. [...] What I think is really bad about this particular case is to give the local party six months before a general election in which to find a good candidate and fight a good campaign."

– Jackie Ballard, former Taunton MP
  1. West Country (W)

Clegg pays tribute to Browne's 'strongly-held views'

Jeremy Browne has announced that now is the right time to announce he will not stand at the next election and the Liberal Democrats wish him all the best for the future. The Deputy Prime Minister regrets the decision that he has taken to leave politics as Jeremy has always had strongly-held views which he has expressed with great skill and conviction.

Jeremy has been a tireless constituency MP for the people of Taunton and served in two important ministerial roles in the early part of this government.

– Liberal Democrat spokesperson

Jeremy Browne: I am not changing to another party

In a resignation letter to his local Liberal Democrat party, Jeremy Browne MP has set out his reasons for deciding not to stand in the 2015 general election:

"By 2015 I will have been a member of parliament for Taunton Deane for ten years. That is generally long enough to do the same job. It is not my ambition to remain in Parliament until I retire. [...] It is time to do something different."

– Jeremy Browne MP

Jeremy Browne has also stated that he has no intention of changing parties, or taking up any other political role.

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UWE careers fair buzzing as SW unemployment falls

8000 more people in the region have managed to find a job in the last month, according to figures released today.

Across the region there are now 127,000 people still out of work. The number has fallen over the past three months.

Today's careers fair at UWE. Credit: ITV News/Richard Payne

At the University of the West of England, 3000 students are expected at a careers fair today, from the first to third year. 130 employers are there: more wanted to come but the fair was fully booked.

UWE student Natalia Rudd, 23. Credit: ITV News/Richard Payne

"I definitely think a degree is the chance of getting a job. And I need to start paying off my loan."

– Natalia Rudd, aspiring radiotherapist
UWE student Stanley Furniss, 22. Credit: ITV News/Richard Payne

"I think jobs fairs are ideal for getting in front of prospective employers. I'm confident I will find a job this way."

– Stanley Furniss, aspiring architect
  1. West Country (W)

Environment Secretary meets Level's flood hit farmers

Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, has been in Somerset to see the progress that has been made since the floods. Credit: ITV News West Country

The government's Environment Secretary has been visiting the somerset levels.

Elizabeth Truss MP, looked at the culvert work at Beer Wall and later met farmers who have received money from the Farm Recovery Fund.

Elizabeth Truss MP meets beneficiaries of the Flood Recovery Fund. Credit: ITV News West Country
Culvert work is ongoing at Beer Wall. Credit: ITV News West Country
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