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The West Country at Westminster: election, NHS crisis, social media

A new series of our political discussion programme, The West Country at Westminster, kicked off last night with Ian Axton at the helm.

Guests were Duncan Hames, the Lib Dem MP for Chippenham, Thangam Debbonaire, Labour's prospective Parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, and the Conservative hopeful in North Devon, Peter Heaton-Jones.

With the election 100 days away on January 27th, they look ahead to the forthcoming contest and discuss the key priorities, such as the NHS, and the rise of social media - particularly Twitter, following an outburst by another local MP who aired his feelings online.

See the debate here and join in the discussion on Twitter with #wcaw


Birdwatchers wanted: it's time to count our feathered friends

The House Sparrow was the most common bird spotted in West Country gardens last year. Credit: PA

The RSPB is asking people to take part in its annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey this weekend.

The charity wants us to go outside for an hour and record the wildlife we see.

Last year in the West Country, House Sparrows and Blue Tits were the most common birds spotted.

Each year around 600,000 people take part. This is the survey's 36th year.

The West Country at Westminster: What are the issues that matter to you?

Our emergency healthcare crisis is one of the issues that will be discussed on tonight's show. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The A&E crisis in our hospitals, plain packaging for cigarettes, the election campaign - our political programme The West Country at Westminster kicks off tonight with a great debate.

Ian Axton's guests include the Lib Dem MP for Chippenham, Duncan Hames, and Thangam Debbonaire, the Labour challenger hoping to be Bristol West's next MP.

Tune in at 10.40pm, and join in the debate on Twitter with #wcaw.


Swindon workers lobby MEPs over unfair pay

Swindon agency workers lobby MEPs over a loophole that means they get paid less for doing the same job as their colleagues Credit: European Parliament

Workers from Swindon have been lobbying MEPs in Brussels because they claim they get £2 less an hour than colleagues doing the same job.

Agency staff at the Marks and Spencer distribution centre want a loophole in EU law closed. It allows companies not to treat workers equally if they are employed through an agency rather than directly.

Whatever's happening right now, it has to stop because we agency workers have been exploited too much.

– Rosseby Carvalho, Shop Steward

We wanted to give them examples of how people are affected by this and for them to see how people live with these regulations and how it affects their lives and how it makes their lives so incredibly difficult.

– CAROLE VALLELLY GMB Union, Wiltshire

Retired but still want to work? This could be for you

People who have retired but still want occasional work can register with the "Retired But Able" service Credit: ITV News

Retired people looking for occasional work can sign up to a new online service which advertises their skills.

"Retired But Able" is the brainchild of a Wiltshire businessman who was inspired after seeing his father in law's quality of life decline after decades at top of his profession.

I think there's a massive psychological benefit to getting out and feeling that you've done something. It may not all be about money - it may be just about self worth.

– crispin thomas, Entrepreneur
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