Live updates

Liam Fox calls for public spending freeze

North Somerset Conservative MP Liam Fox has called on the government for a radical change in economic policy, just nine days before the budget.

Dr Fox used a speech in London to argue for tax cuts and a freeze in public spending. And he opposed the policy of protecting areas like the NHS and overseas aid at the expense of other government departments.

Advertisement

South West bucks trend as rental rates fall

Rental rates in the South West have fallen this year Credit: John Giles/PA Wire

Whilst rent in the private housing sector reached another new high last month, the South West has bucked the trend, with rates dropping by 1.5% annually.

Demand for rental homes has rocketed in the last year as people struggle to get on the property ladder because they cannot raise a deposit or meet lenders' toughened borrowing criteria.

Although rents increased by 3.2% nationally to an average of £741pcm, rates in the South West fell to an average of £638.

The findings come a day after the Money Advice Trust announced that a record 12,000 tenants were struggling with arrears had contacted its national debtline this year - the biggest number in its 26-year history.

Advertisement