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West Country food banks see 20% rise in users

Over 38,000 children needed food from a West Country food bank in the last year Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

More than 100,000 people in the region have had to resort to food banks in the past year.

The Trussell Trust says numbers of those in need have risen a fifth in the past year demonstrating that, despite economic recovery, a growing number of people are in crisis. 106,292 people received three days' emergency food from the charity in the last year - the equivalent to double the population of Weymouth. Of those, over a third were children.

Work begins on Smeaton's Tower

Work has begun to light up Plymouth's most symbolic building.

Smeaton's Tower, the former Eddystone lighthouse which has been rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe, is to be floodlit at night. Lights are also being installed in the lantern and around the walkway. Fitting them in such an important building comes with problems.


£47 million investment for South West companies

Plymouth University will be receiving a share of the £47 million Credit: ITV News

£47 million pounds will be invested into companies in the South West from the Regional Growth Fund.

To mark the announcement MP Simon Hughes will be visiting Torbay later today.

The government hopes the universities and local firms which benefit from this investment will use the money to expand and create more jobs.

Since the fund was launched in 2010, a total of £240 million has been invested in 50 projects across the region.

Brand new multi-million pound warship to be based in Plymouth

An artists impression of what the new ship will look like Credit: ITV News/ Artists impression

The MOD has announced that Plymouth will be the home of one of its new multi-million pound warships.

The Type 26 Global Combat Ships frigates are part of a national ship building plan, and will be based at both Plymouth and Portsmouth.

The government says they will help deliver the most modern navy in the world.

Unemployment down in South West

Unemployment in the South West fell by 7,000 in the three months to November, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics showed that a total of 120,000 people were unemployed in the region between September and November. The region's unemployment rate was 4.4%.


Chair of Environment Committee says there are partial solutions to the milk crisis

A committee of MPs says the government could do more to protect dairy farmers from fluctuations in milk prices.

The region's farmers have staged blockades in protest at low milk prices, which they say will drive them out of business.

Retailers say they've had to lower the price of milk because of an over-supply.

The Chair of the Committee Anne McIntosh says there are partial solutions.

  1. West Country (E)

MPs: Dairy farmers need greater protection against falling milk prices

It's been a volatile year for dairy farmers Credit: Reuters

Dairy farmers need greater protection in the face of sharp falls in the price of milk, MPs have said.

Since last summer the dairy industry has been hit by significant falls in milk prices in the face of rising supply and falling demand, particularly from China and as a result of the Russian trade ban.

The sharp reversal in fortunes, coming after prices hit their highest level for several years, has been driving dairy farmers out of business every week, with the total number in the UK falling to below 10,000 for the first time.

Tourism in Devon and Cornwall slumping as parents face threat of fines if they take their children out of school during term

Tourism is down during term time across Devon and Cornwall

Tourism businesses in the region say their bookings have been badly affected by stricter rules about taking children out of school for holidays.

A new survey shows that bookings in Devon and Cornwall have slumped by up to 10%, as parents shun term-time breaks because they fear being fined if they take their children out of school.

Business which rely on tourism say they now have just 10 weeks a year in which to maximise their income. While Easter, Summer and half-term breaks are still popular, families are no longer visiting during term time.

Research just published found that in Cornwall last Spring the number of families holidaying fell from 31% to 16% after the threat of fines was introduced. Visit Cornwall says it would normally only see one or two per cent difference year on year

Cornish pasty fears eased

Chewing it over: fears have eased that a new trade deal could threaten the Cornish pasty Credit: Stephen Kelly/PA Wire

Fears that the Cornish pasty could fall victim to international imposters following a new trade deal with America have been allayed.

Concerns were raised when Germany warned that the EU would not be able to uphold laws protecting regional foods under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement with the US.

However Christian Schmidt, the German agriculture minister, later clarified his statements, stating he wanted to protect the labels. An EU spokesman confirmed that Europe would not allow existing protection for recognised products to be weakened.

The Cornish pasty has had protected status since 2011.

"Anything which allowed an American market to manufacture Cornish pasties marked as such would make a nonsense of the whole system we have here.

"Protective status has been a very positive thing for our industry here in Cornwall. We have seen a terrific increase in the consumer interest in genuine pasties, and demand is also increasing.

"I think people in Cornwall have said protective status has been a good thing."

– Ruth Huxley, Cornish Pasty Association
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