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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.

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.

Bristol Pound can be used to pay council tax

Local currency can now be used to pay council tax Credit: Bristol Pound

Bristol residents can now use the Bristol Pound to make council tax payments.

This means Bristol is the first UK city where people can pay council tax in a local currency.

Accounts can be opened online at bristolpound.org/signup or in person at BCU’s offices, Stokes Croft.

Local currency can now be used to pay council tax Credit: Bristol Pound

For the first time the people of Bristol have a clear and direct way of giving an imperative to the city council to support local businesses.

In true Bristol fashion, we are the first UK city where people can pay council tax in a local currency.

If people take it on and start doing it, the whole scheme will scale up significantly.

This would have a real effect on the economy, supporting locally owned businesses and the communities they are part of.

Local businesses have been able to pay their business rates and Business Improvement District (BID) Levy in £Bs since the scheme launched in September 2012.

£B119,502 Bristol Pounds were paid to the council in business rates in 2014.

Since September 2012 a total of £B680,000 Bristol Pounds has been issued, with £B460,000Bristol Pounds currently in circulation. About 800 locally-owned businesses accept the currency.

– Ciaran Mundy, £B Director

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Longleat offers bubble wrapped cars

Longleat offers bubble-wrapped vehicles Credit: Longleat Safari Park

Longleat is to offer visitors to the safari park the option of having their cars bubble-wrapped to protect them from their infamous troop of car-mad monkeys.

The Wiltshire attraction will be offering the special service to motorists before they enter the monkey ‘Drive-Thru’.

It will be available as an additional charged option with drivers pulling in to a designated wrap zone where staff will be on hand to carefully cover their vehicles with protective plastic.

On exiting the Safari Park it will be removed and recycled.

Longleat offers bubble-wrapped vehicles Credit: Longleat Safari Park

The vast majority of our visitors love the experience of driving through our monkey enclosure, and getting the opportunity to enjoy their antics at extremely close quarters.

However some drivers are put off by the prospect of having their car covered in the highly-curious and, occasionally, slightly destructive simians.

The bubble wrap will provide them with extra security and the confidence to brave the drive-thru safe in the knowledge their prized vehicle will remain untouched.

– Paolo Flirs, Longleat’s customer services assistant
Longleat offers bubble-wrapped vehicles Credit: Longleat Safari Park

True or False? Is this an April Fool?

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