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Bishops of Truro and Taunton attack Govt welfare cuts

The Bishops of Truro and Taunton have joined other senior clergy in urging the Government to reconsider welfare cuts, saying the system's failures and cut backs have led to an increase in people using food banks.

Their letter, signed by 24 Anglican bishops, as well as senior clergy from other denominations, says the Government must ensure the welfare system provides an adequate safety net, and that salaries are high enough for a decent standard of living.

Services for youth & elderly may be hit by Devon cuts

County Councillors in Devon will debate cutting more than 27 million pounds from its budget later today.

The council is being forced to cut two hundred million pounds from its budget by 2017, because of government spending cuts

County Hall, Exeter Credit: ITV Westcountry

Services that could suffer include the county's youth service and care centres for the elderly.

Carers hold crisis meeting over proposed Devon cuts

Carers held a crisis meeting today in Barnstaple to talk about the huge cuts being proposed by Devon County Council, which they fear could have a devastating effect on their lives.

Our reporter John Andrews met one carer whose mother has dementia. She relies on using a day centre, which is at risk of closure. Her story is just one of thousands from people waiting anxiously to hear where the axe will fall.

SW house sales at highest level for six years

Sales are predicted to carry on rising. Credit: PA

House sales across the South West are at their highest for more than six years. That is according to RICS - the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

It is predicted that sales will continue to rise throughout 2014. Estate agents are calling the current conditions a 'perfect storm', with the help-to-buy scheme and a booming letting market.

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More people seek help for debt problems

The charity found that people in the region were £15 short each month after covering household bills Credit: PA

The debt charity, Step Change, has reported a rise in enquiries from people in the South West who have got into financial trouble.

In the first nine months of 2013 almost 9,000 people contacted the charity's helpline for assistance with debt. That was more than for the whole of 2012.

South Hams to introduce new council tax system

Some residents in South Hams could find themselves paying council tax for the first time. As part of the Government's welfare reforms, councils must design their own council tax reduction scheme for working-age people who are not working, or are on a low income.

Reduced funding means that all claimants will have to make some contribution. The scheme was approved after an 8 week consultation with residents, and will begin in April 2014.

1000s of South West households paying bedroom tax

New figures from the National Housing Federation show that thousands of South West households are paying the 'bedroom tax' - a reduction in housing benefit for families with spare bedrooms. It was in introduced in April 2013.

  • Cornwall - 2826 households have seen a loss in housing benefit, totalling £768.95 on average
  • Plymouth - 1943 households, with an average loss of £710.75
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