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Nick Clegg hints A303 improvements could come soon

Nick Clegg discusses improvements to the A303 at a meeting in Ilminster Credit: ITV News

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been discussing proposals to improve the A303 to the West country at a meeting with business leaders and councillors in Somerset.

He gave strong hints that money for the scheme would be announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement next month.

I am absolutely determined that we should finally fix this. We haven't crossed the T's and dotted the I's yet on the announcement that will be made in the Autumn Statement in early December but, how can I put it, if there isn't an announcement to improve the A303 in the Autumn Statement, I'll come down here and start tarmacking it myself!

– Nick Clegg, Deputy PM


Devon Council to lobby ministers over transport

Officials from Devon County Council will today lobby government ministers over improved road and rail links to the region.

They want assurances about strengthening the rail line around Dawlish, creating a new line inland, and upgrading the A303 - though one Somerset MP says this should not include the Blackdown Hills.

The line was badly damaged at Dawlish during last winter's storms. Credit: PA

Cornwall Council rethinks school crossing cuts

Cornwall Council has agreed to delay cutting a number of school crossing patrols.

The council was hoping to save £80,000, but it will carry out a risk assessment first before making a final decision.

It has also reached a deal with the RNLI to maintain the current level of lifeguard cover on 57 beaches, despite reducing its contribution to the charity from £1.4million to £950,000.

Many manned crossings could stay. Credit: PA

The West Country at Westminster with Alastair Stewart

Catch up with this month's political show - The West Country At Westminster - presented by Alastair Stewart.

He's joined by Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, Labour's PPC for Kingswood Jo McCarron, and UKIP's PPC for N Devon and party chairman Steve Crowther.

Among the issues being discussed are : the rise of UKIP and calls by some Tories for a possible pact, Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne's recent surprise announcement that he's to step down at the next General Election.

Where does that leave the local Lib Dems? And following Ed Miliband's recent faux pas at his party conference, when he forgot to mention the deficit, are there any political gaffes our guests have made that they'd rather forget?

369 jobs to go at Cornwall Council

The Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, Andrew Kerr wrote to tell staff of the job losses today. Credit: ITV West Country

EXCLUSIVE: ITV West Country can reveal that nearly four hundred jobs are to go at Cornwall Council.

369 posts will be lost, 280 of them compulsory.

The council wants to make the savings by the end of next March.

Staff and unions have been told the news this morning in a letter from the council's chief executive Andrew Kerr.

Mr Kerr says in a letter to staff that the cuts will save £31 million.


Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust fights funding cuts

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust which manages green spaces and the marine environment has lodged a petition with the local council with over 4,000 signatures protesting at plans to cut funding by 50%

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust petition is delivered to Torbay Council Credit: TCCT

To date more than 4180 signatures have been raised since the petition began on October 3rd. The number of signatures is more than 3 times the number required to ensure the petition motion will be discussed at the next Council meeting on October 30th.

’I'm glad that so many people of Torbay have stood behind this petition. Our green spaces and coastline are integral to the beautiful place we live in and we need to protect this for future generations’.

– Jill Ward,Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust

Local govt campaigner takes his fight to Somerset CC

David Orr is campaigning for a fairer system in local government Credit: ITV News

A local government campaigner will speak to Somerset County Council today to try to persuade it not to arrange long term appointments with people who work for their own limited companies.

David Orr says the current system allows the very highly paid to pay a lower rate of tax.

Torbay's elected Mayor loses vote of no confidence

Mayor of Torbay Gordon Oliver deselected as Conservative Group Leader for Torbay Council Credit: ITV West Country

Torbay's elected mayor has been deselected as leader of Torbay council's Conservative Group.

Over a thousand people signed a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Gordon Oliver - which he lost this evening. This does not effect his position as Mayor.

Browne resignation: Analysis from Bob Constantine

Our Political Correspondent Bob Constantine on Jeremy Browne's shock resignation:

Jeremy Browne's decision to retire at the next election - and not contest the Taunton Deane seat he's held since 2005 - gives the Liberal Democrats a real headache. Taunton is a marginal seat, with the Conservatives anxious to overturn his majority of just under 4000.

He says in a letter released on Twitter that he wants to do something different, adding "I have come to the conclusion that in national politics, my time is run", though he doesn't really explain what's led him to that conclusion.

Intriguingly, he adds that he's not about to defect to another party - presumably a reference to the Conservatives, rather than UKIP. For Mr Browne has always been on the libertarian right of the Lib Dems - putting him at odds with many activists, who argue for stronger state control. He told me back in April that he didn't want the Lib Dems to be defined purely by their opposition to the Tories.

Mr Browne - once touted as a possible party leader - was deeply hurt when Nick Clegg sacked him as a Home Office minister a year ago. But unlike his Somerset neighbour, David Heath, who's also stepping down, he waited till now to announce his retirement, giving little time for a new candidate to get established. A spokesman for Nick Clegg praised Jeremy Browne's "strongly held views, which he expressed with great skill and conviction" - something of a double-edged compliment, perhaps.

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