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Revealed: the £2 billion plan for South West roads

Road improvements are part of a plan to improve connections to the South West and boost the economy Credit: ITV West Country

Highways England has set out how £2 billion of government investment to improve the capacity of roads in the South West will be used.

By 2021
a series of improvements will be developed along motorways and A roads
Levels of funding that will be spent on roads by the end of the decade

The plans aim to make journeys faster and more reliable, and boost the region's economy.

Highways England, the government-owned company which took over responsibility for England’s motorways and major A roads earlier this year, has set out its plan for the South West.

Highlights include:

  • Improvements to the M5 J23 at Bridgwater - which will support proposals to develop around 5,000 new homes and create more than 4,000 new jobs
  • An upgrade for the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross in Cornwall - this will support local plans which would see an increase of over 22,000 homes and more than 11,000 jobs
  • Dualling the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester
  • Dualling the A358 from the M5 at Taunton to the A303 at Southfields
will be spent on resurfacing between 2015-2016

Millions of pounds worth of funding has also been promised for maintenance schemes, making provisions for cyclists, and for improving the environment.

Our road network connects, people, places and business and this new investment will bring huge improvements to journeys around the South West

– Andrew Page-Dove, Highways England Regional Director

The £2 billion investment in the South West of England will significantly improve journeys and help create jobs.

– Andrew Jones, Roads Minister


£500 million to Plymouth's rival dockyard

The money will go to Faslane near Glasgow Credit: ITV News

Plymouth has been left out of a government plan that will see £500 million go to one of Devonport's rival dockyards - Faslane on the Clyde.

Alongside Portsmouth and Devonport, Faslane is one of three major naval hubs, and is the home of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.

The money will go towards a 10-year infrastructure project which is expected to begin in 2017. The plans include building sea walls and jetties, and will create thousands of jobs.

Two submarines from Devonport will also be moved up to Faslane in 2020.

Chancellor to unveil plan's to boost countryside economies

George Osborne speaking at Appledore Shipyard in May. Credit: ITV News

The Chancellor George Osborne is visiting the South West today and is expected to unveil a new ten-point plan to “unleash the full potential” of Britain’s countryside.

He's also expected to announce more support for villages and towns wanting to build starter homes on currently so-called exception sites.

A range of other measures including better broadband and transport links will also be included.

For too long the British economy has been reliant on businesses based in our cities and towns. We want to create a One Nation economy that taps into the potential of all parts of our country. That means setting the right conditions for rural communities and businesses to thrive, investing in education and skills, improving rural infrastructure, and allowing rural villages to thrive and grow.

– Chancellor George Osborne


'Gove effect' leaves the tourism industry out of pocket

Rules brought in by Michael Gove in 2013 mean parents are fined £60 for taking their children out of school in term time Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

A tourism business owner says the so-called Gove Effect is forcing her to sell off her holiday cottage.

Sarah Kitson from Lamerton near Tavistock says tougher rules where parents are fined for taking children out of school have had a drastic impact on holiday bookings.

Holiday cottage owner Sarah Kitson isn't fully booked this summer Credit: ITV West Country

It used to be from Easter til October we'd be fully booked but now we've got huge gaps. I've just had three weeks gap in a holiday cottage in Newquay, and it's just not worth keeping the holiday cottages running anymore as a holiday let business.

– Sarah Kitson

The rules brought in by Former Education secretary Michael Gove in 2013 mean parents can be fined £60 a day for taking their children out of school to go on holiday, or even prosecuted for it.

A recent report by the Tourism Society Westcountry said it's costing the industry £87 million a year.

The Tourism Society Westcountry and Visit Cornwall now calling for holidays to be staggered like in other European countries.

  1. West Country (E)

Living wage for low-paid, welfare cuts for families

Credit: John Stillwell/PA

Low-paid workers in the region could be getting a pay rise, as a compulsory living wage was announced in today's budget.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a new National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for all over 25s next April. This will then increase to £9 an hour by 2020.

However he also fleshed out huge cuts to the welfare budget. Some people will see benefits frozen and tax credits cut.

These measures include a reduction in the benefit cap for households, an end to housing benefit for 18-21 year-olds, a two-child limit for child tax credits and a freeze in working age benefits for four years.

For more on what this means for you and your family, tune in to ITV News West Country from 6pm tonight.

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