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Two thirds of South West businesses say they would vote to stay in the EU

Almost two thirds of businesses in the south west say they would vote to stay in the EU - if the vote was today - compared to one quarter who say they would leave the single market.

David Cameron has pledged an in out referendum on the EU in his time as Prime Minister.

The majority of firms surveyed by Business West say leaving the EU would damage their business.

Phillip Smith, the Managing Director of Business West told us this:

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Torquay United closes youth academy

Torquay United has a new board of directors. Credit: ITV News

Torquay United has announced it is closing its youth academy as part of cost-cutting measures.

The club said the "painful and stark reality" was that it could no longer afford to run it while still ensuring a future for the club.

In a statement on its website the club apologised to the "outstanding" and "talented" young footballers who will now be released.

A new board of directors took over the troubled club yesterday. The club's new Director of Football Dean Edwards will explain the decision to close the youth department at a meeting at the Launa Windows Stadium tomorrow night.

"We would like to put on record that we did not create this situation. For months now, the precarious nature of the football club has been obvious and, in truth, this should have been resolved a long time ago.

"The comments made by former vice-chairman Bill Phillips in suggesting the youth department would be retained were both premature and misleading to the young footballers in our structure.

"We are extremely sorry for all the young boys who have been in the system and the dedication shown by these talented youngsters, and their families, has been outstanding at all times."

"Now this decision has been reached, we can confirm that all the Academy and youth-team players are free agents.

"Despite our disappointment at being placed in this position, we are in no way abandoning the culture of trying to develop young players and the future plan involves working closely with local clubs to help nurture talent.

"We are already in discussion with Paul Devlin and his team of coaches in Football in the Community to see how we can play a role in expanding their operation to develop elite pathways for the best young players in our region.

"We will also seek to enhance the scouting network available to Torquay United, with the aim of identifying talented teenagers who we believe can make the step up to training with our first-team squad.

"Finally, Torquay United would like to thank all the coaching staff in the youth department for their tremendous commitment. Geoff Harrop, Robbie Herrera, Kevin Nancekivell, Craig Easton, Matt Scholes, Matt Williams and all the part-time coaches did a superb job and we are very grateful."

– Torquay United Football Club
  1. West Country (E)

Cider producers back petition handed to Downing Street

Cider producers back petition handed to Downing Street Credit: PA: Barry Batchelor

Cider makers in the south west have backed a petition that's been handed into Downing Street today.

It asks the Government to reject an EU tax on small producers.

The consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale says it will force small cider businesses to close.

Ian Packham from CAMRA spoke to ITV News.

Devon MP calls for Caffe Nero to show some "muscle"

Caffe Nero have stopped buying milk from dairy farmers in the badger cull zone Credit: Dave Thompson/PA

A Devon MP is calling on Caffe Nero not to give in to threats from animal rights activists over the badger cull.

The chain has stopped buying milk from dairy farmers in the badger cull zone in Somerset following threats to employees and property. Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish, warns that giving in could encourage more intimidation in future.

These farmers have had a real struggle to rid themselves of TB and it's part of government policy and they should not be targeted in this way. And I just want Caffe Nero to show some muscle - to actually stand up to people rather than cave in.

– Neil Parish MP, Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton

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100 days to go until the Rugby World Cup

Exeter is one of the cities hosting the World Cup Credit: England Rugby 2015

It's 100 days to go until the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Sandy Park in Exeter is one of 13 match venues.

The games at Sandy Park include:

- Tonga v Namibia, 29 September

- Namibia v Georgia, 7 October

- Italy v Romania, 11 October

It's thought the three matches at Sandy Park will generate £39 million of economic activity to city, create 286 new jobs, increase visitor numbers to the city and wider area and establish a long lasting legacy.

As well as the 100 day countdown to the start of the Tournament, the Webb Ellis Cup starts its journey around the UK and Ireland as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.

Caffe Nero says badger cull milk boycott is about staff safety

The badger cull is strongly supported by farmers but controversial among animal rights activists. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Caffe Nero has defended its boycott of milk from badger cull areas as necessary to protect its staff.

In a statement the coffee chain insisted it was not bowing to intimidation, but that it had to act when staff well-being was threatened.

With just 2% of our annual milk supply impacted, we made what we feel was the right choice ... We are not intimidated by protestors in spite of their ongoing and upsetting efforts to threaten our business. At the end of the day, we know that the authorities will support us if needed. However, we made a decision to limit any risk to our people as quickly as possible.

– Caffe Nero statement

Animal rights activists told Caffe Nero they would protest if the coffee chain continued to use milk from badger cull areas.

Dairy farmers in Gloucestershire and Somerset have criticised activists for their tactics, and talked of boycotting the coffee chain for its decision. Caffe Nero says it has discussed its reasons with the National Farmers' Union.

West Country MP criticises Caffe Nero's badger cull stance

The badger cull is strongly supported by farmers but controversial among animal rights activists. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A West Country MP is criticising Caffe Nero's decision to stop using milk that has come from farms in badger cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

With two big milk producers in his constituency Ian Liddell-Grainger says the coffee shop's decision will put jobs at risk.

Caffe Nero took the move after anti-cull protesters threatened to boycott the cafe unless the company refused to the use the milk.

I have a lot of farmers in my constituency. I have superb dairymen, superb cattle, wonderful milk. Don't boycott British milk to put British jobs at risk because you've got some petty vendetta. Get a job, grow up and stop annoying the police."

– Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater & West Somerset

Business reaction to the election result

Devon and Cornwall businesses have welcomed the election result in the South West where the Conservatives hold the majority of seats - mirroring the national picture.

The Chief Executive of Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce wants the new government to work on boosting jobs and growth in the region.

Businesses in all parts of the United Kingdom and particularly the South West want to see a pro-growth, pro-enterprise programme – building on the positive steps taken, and lessons learned, during the Coalition years.

In order to continue the overall steady growth we have seen in the region, we need the next government to continue its work of cutting the deficit, in tandem with making significant investment in our transport infrastructure.

The Conservatives now appear to have a clear mandate to take bold and important decisions, and must use it to help British businesses invest and grow. In return, business stands ready to work with the new government to deliver prosperity, jobs and sustained economic growth.

We heard from George Osborne MP earlier this year, on the Conservative’s Long Term Economic Plan commitment for the South West and I, along with many businesses and partner organisations in the region, look forward to working with our new MP’s to see these plans come to fruition.

– Peter Hartland, Chief Executive of Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce

Cornwall Chamber of Commerce wants the new government to focus on growth and investment in the region.

We congratulate all of our new and continuing MPs and look forward to working with them to ensure that the recently published Business Plan for Cornwall and the Chamber Calls within it are at the forefront of their minds.

The Conservatives now have a clear mandate to take bold and important decisions, and must use it to help Cornish businesses invest and grow.

– Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
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