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Warning over teenagers taking out payday loans

Charity warns about getting into debt. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

One in ten young people in the south west have borrowed money from lending companies.

The charity Action for Children say a worrying number of 12 to 18-year-olds use payday or high street lenders as an easy way to access money - and this problem is expected to get worse in the run up to Christmas.

Firefighters start 24-hour walkout

Firefighters in the West Country begin another 24-hour strike today. It is part of a long-running dispute with the government over pensions.

Crews will be walking out from 9am today until 9am Wednesday morning. Fire officers are warning people to take extra care during these hours.

Fire crews to stage further strike action Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images


Prime Minister says Britain can't afford not to upgrade road network

David Cameron being questioned at Stonehenge this afternoon Credit: ITV News West Country

The Prime Minister has insisted that Britain can afford the £15bn road improvements announced by the Coalition today which include plans to dual the A303 and take the road through a tunnel under Stonehenge.

Mr Cameron visited Stonehenge this afternoon where he said that Britain "can't afford not to do this"

The south west is an absolutely vital part of our country and this is going to delivering expressway effectively - dual carriageway all the way between the M3 and the M5. Its going to make a huge difference.Its going to make sure that economic growth we have will spread to every part of our country

– David Cameron, Prime Minister

Nick Clegg pledge on roads improvement money

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has told ITV News that the allocation of money for billions of pounds worth of road improvements will be enshrined in law.

He was speaking at Stonehenge where he made the announcement of more than 80 new road schemes costing £15bn. This includes a plan to dual the A303 which will take the road under Stonehenge.

Taunton Deane welcomes A358 plans

THE Government’s announcement that it is to invest in vital improvements to the A358 between Taunton and the A303 near Ilminster is being celebrated by civic leaders in Taunton Deane.

The improvement, announced today, is part of £2 billion of investment in roads in the South West, with the improvements to the A303 at Sparkford and the A358 Taunton link being the first to enter construction.

“We recognise the frustration and concerns about the roads congestion at present which is caused by an inadequate road system.

“I am delighted the Government has at last helped us to find a solution to this long outstanding problem that has so long held back our economy. Our community has suffered excessive congestion and air pollution for far too long.

– Cllr John Williams, Leader of the Borough Council


Yeovil MP welcomes road improvement plans

Yeovil MP David Laws has welcomed the road improvements Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Yeovil MP David Laws has welcomed the Government's plans to dual the A303 and A358, all the way from the M3 to the M5 at Taunton.

The plan does not involve dualling the A303 over the sensitive Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding National Beauty, but instead there will be smaller scale improvements to this stretch of road. The whole plan is expected to take over a decade to deliver. The most expensive parts are a 2.9km tunnel (costing £1.2bn) around Stonehenge, and the £300m dualling of the A358, from Ilminster to the M5 at Taunton.

‘I am absolutely delighted that the Coalition Government is going ahead with this significant plan to upgrade the A303 and the A358 – neither of which are currently fit for purpose. Current levels of road congestion and delays are unacceptable, and it is totally inappropriate that a busy A303 runs right past Stonehenge – a monument of world heritage importance.

‘I have been campaigning for this plan for many years, and it has taken a Coalition Government with a strong Liberal Democrat membership to finally secure some action.

‘The plan is exactly what I have wanted – with the A303 dualled from Ilminster eastwards, and the A358 dualled up to the M5 at Taunton.

‘This is good news for travel across the region and within Somerset – making it easier for my constituents to access Taunton, the M5 and the M3.

– David Laws MP

New junction planned for M49 at Avonmouth

A new junction off the M49 at Avonmouth is part of the series of roads improvements announced by the Government today.

The junction is proposed for the area where Farm Lane - linking Severn Beach and Easter Compton - crosses the M49 motorway, south of the existing distribution park.

This new junction will help unlock growth in the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area - the largest brownfield site in Western Europe - opening it up and linking it to other key centres in the south west and nationally and delivering up to 14,000 new jobs by 2030.

“We are absolutely delighted with this announcement; it is the necessary catalyst for opening up the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area and delivering thousands of new jobs. We have worked closely with the Highways Agency on the plans, and together are determined to deliver this as soon as possible,”

– Colin Skellett, West of England LEP

West roads to get major upgrade

A303 at Stonehenge will go underground Credit: PA

Drivers in the West Country are set benefit from what's being hailed as the biggest upgrade to roads in a generation.

The Government has confirmed that it will spend more than £2 billion to include building a new tunnel at Stonehenge, upgrading the A303, dualling the A358 link road and the so-called, "missing link" on the A417 at Birdlip near Gloucester. There are also plans to improve Junction 23 of the M5 at Bridgwater and create batter access to Avonmouth from the M49.

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