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  1. National

Tributes paid to Jeremy Thorpe

Tributes have been paid to former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe.

His son Rupert said the politician had been a "devoted husband" to his two wives Caroline and Marion who had stood by him "through everything".

He added: "His grandchildren and great grandchildren will miss him dearly, as will I."

Liberal Democrat former minister Sir Nick Harvey, who represents Mr Thorpe's former constituency of North Devon, described him as a "towering force in shaping the political landscape of the late 20th and early 21st centuries".

He said: "Jeremy Thorpe was a colossal figure in the revival of the Liberal cause in post-war Britain and today's Lib Dem politicians continue to feast on his legacy."

Read more here: Former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe dies

Former North Devon MP Jeremy Thorpe has died

Tributes have been paid to former North Devon MP Jeremy Thorpe, who has died aged 85.

Thorpe, who also headed the Liberal Party party in the 1960s and 1970s, had been battling with Parkinson's Disease for more than three decades.

"He had a genuine sympathy for the underprivileged - whether in his beloved North Devon where his first campaign was for 'mains, drains and a little bit of light' or in Africa, where he was a resolute fighter against apartheid and became a respected friend of people like President Kaunda of Zambia."

– Lord Steel of Aikwood
Jeremy Thorpe has died at the age of 85 Credit: ITV News

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Exeter-based Flybe responds to Autumn Statement

Exeter-based Flybe has welcomed George Osbourne's announcement that air passenger duty is to be scrapped for children under 12 from next year.

“The scrapping of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on flights for children under the age of 12 is to be welcomed. However, this is just tinkering at the edges and represents a missed opportunity by The Chancellor to show that he is serious about the economic regeneration of the UK regions. Despite continuing to engage with the government to emphasise the unfairness of APD, the needs of our regional passengers are still being ignored.

“It’s time for the Chancellor to seriously listen to the UK regions and deliver reform quickly, to ensure the government does not inflict further damage to the UK’s aspirations for economic growth.”

“The Smith Commission’s recommendations to devolve APD to the Scottish Government shows progress, and we believe its implementation would demonstrate the benefits ofcutting or abolishing the tax to other nations or regions within the UK, which in turn would deliver a balanced economic recovery.”

– Flybe’s Chief Executive Saad Hammad
  1. National

Osborne announces stamp duty overhaul

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans for a total overhaul of the "badly-designed" stamp duty system paid on the purchases of homes.

The reform will mean new marginal rates that the Chancellor says will mean a stamp duty cut for 98% of homebuyers.

  • No tax on first £125,000 paid
  • 2% on the portion up to £250,000
  • 5% up to £925,000
  • 10% up to £1.5 million
  • 12% on everything over that
  1. National

Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped for all children

Air Passenger Duty will be scrapped for all children by 2016, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.

George Osborne hopes his announcement will reduce the cost of flights for families. Credit: PA Wire

"We’re going to require airlines to list the charges separately from taxes on tickets, but I also want to reduce the cost of those tickets for families directly.

"From the 1st May next year, Air Passenger Duty for children under 12 will be abolished. From the following year, we’ll get rid of APD for children under 16 altogether."

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi tweeted: "Birmingham family with 2 young children welcomes cut in air passenger duty."

"They will save £170 on planned flight to Dubai."

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Dorset County Council to choose a new leader

Cllr Spencer Flower has stood down as council leader Credit: Dorset County Council

Dorset County Council is meeting this morning to discuss its next leader.

The former council leader, Spencer Flower stood down ahead of a trial in which he is accused of failing to declare interests in two property companies. He faces three charges relating to his work as a councillor.

Fears that Hinkley nuclear plant is being delayed

The site for the proposed nuclear power station in the shadow of the existing reactors Credit: ITV News

There are growing fears that the European Commission is delaying the building of a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. It's still to sign off all the building regulations surrounding the project.

Today Labour south west MEP Claire Moody will meet the Commission to try to speed up the process.

VAT refunds for air ambulances & rescue helicopters

Search and rescue helicopter based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall Credit: ITV News

As part of the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor is to announce VAT refunds for Search and Rescue and Air Ambulance charities alongside £7.5 million extra support for air ambulances.

The VAT refunds will be worth £25 million over 5 years.

It is in response to the service the UK’s Search and Rescue and Air Ambulance charities provide, volunteering their time and expertise to support to emergency services.

At the moment, most Search and Rescue and Air Ambulance charities cannot claim VAT back on their search and rescue activities but this means they will all be able to apply for VAT refunds for them as of 1 April 2015.

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