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Meet the man who opened Labour's famous "there is no money" letter

The famous letter left by the outgoing chief secretary to the Treasury, which claimed "there is no money", could now end up in the National Archives.

In a new book, David Laws, the former Lib Dem MP for Yeovil, describes receiving the letter from his Labour predecessor Liam Byrne after the 2010 election.

It has been widely quoted ever since, but Mr Laws has kept the original and only shown it once - to ITV.

Mr Byrne has said he regrets leaving this note in the Treasury. Credit: ITV News
Credit: ITV News

Mr Laws told our political correspondent, Bob Constantine, that he may leave it to the Treasury in his will.

Lots of people seem to want it. The National Archives said it was a historic document.

– David Laws

Join us on ITV News West Country tonight at 6 for the full interview with David Laws, as he talks coalition, expenses rows, and the 2015 election wipeout.

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West Country misses out on devolution deal

The West Country missed out on any devolution deals in the Budget Credit: PA

Business people in the region have reacted with dismay at the Chancellor's budget.

George Osborne only mentioned the South West twice in his speech - discussing the rail system and assistance for first time buyers. He did announce devolution deals, to create powerhouses elsewhere in the country, but the West Country has been left out.

It's really really important that we get our devolution deal in place and that we also all work very strongly together to promote the south west.

– GEORGE COWCHER, Devon Chamber of Commerce

Here's a list of announcements which will affect the West Country:

  • £19m from Stamp Duty receipts to community led housing schemes in areas where the impact of holiday homes is most acute
  • £5m additional development funding to improve resilience on the Dawlish rail line
  • Increasing grant funding to £14.5m for ultrafast broadband
  • New Enterprise Zone for Cornwall
  • £2m to refurbish the Hall for Cornwall in Truro

Shares in drinks firms fall after sugar tax announcement

Shares in listed drinks firms dropped sharply on the London stock market after the sugar tax announcement in George Osborne's Budget.

George Osborne announced a sugar tax on soft drinks companies. Credit: Lewis Whyld / PA

Irn Bru maker AG Barr, which also makes Tizer and St Clement's, fell 4%, while Robinsons squash firm Britvic fell 2% and Vimto maker Nichols dropped as much as 7%.

The tax will be levied against firms that produce sugar-sweetened drinks and brought in in two years' time to give them a chance to drive down their sugar content.

Mr Osborne said some firms "may choose to pass the price onto consumers and that will be their decision, and this would have an impact on consumption too."

The new sugar levy has been welcomed by Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, Brixham, Paignton & South Hams.

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What does the Budget mean for the South West?

As the analysis gets underway for this years budget, here's a summary of how it will affect the South West including further devolution, a reduction of Stamp Duty and extra investment for our broadband:

  • West of England Devolution agreement, including £900m gainshare pot, devolved transport budget and powers over adult skills
  • £19m from Stamp Duty receipts to community led housing schemes in areas where the impact of holiday homes is most acute
  • £5m additional development funding toimprove resilience on the Dawlish rail line
  • Increasing grant funding to £14.5m for ultrafast broadband
  • New Enterprise Zone for Cornwall
  • £3m to improve rail station facilities
  • £2m to refurbish the Hall for Cornwall in Truro

Devon MP wins battle for sugar tax

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry, which has been welcomed by the MP for Totnes, Brixham, Paignton & South Hams.

Sarah Wollaston MP Credit: PA

Sarah Wollaston MP chairs the Health Select Committee in Parliament, and has been campaigning for the Government to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks as part of a package of measures to reduce sugar intake. She joined forces with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in November after a petition was signed by more than 150,000 people.

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The tax will be introduced in two years time to ensure companies reduce the sugar content of drinks and promote low sugar brands. He said it was a "perfectly reasonable step" to protect children's health.

"Money from this new [sugar] levy will be used to double the funding we dedicate to sport in every primary school," Mr Osborne said.

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