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'I lost my job, marriage and £750,000 to gambling' - former addict fears crackdown won't go far enough

The Government announced plans to restrict the amount gamblers can wager on fixed odds betting machines, today.

Medway Council has led a long campaign against the terminals, and in Chatham a voluntary exclusion scheme was introduced to allow gambling addicts to ban themselves from betting shops.

Under the present rules it's possible to bet up to £18,000 in an hour. A former Army Major who received the Sword of Honour at Sandhurst, and then sold it to fuel his addiction, has spoken to us from his home in Tunbridge Wells about the devastation gambling has caused.

Andy Dickenson reports and hears from Justyn Larcombe, MP Tracey Crouch and Malcolm George of the Association of British Bookmakers.

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Call for more school funding

Teachers, parents and pupils from across the country joined politicians at Westminster calling for more money to be spent on schools. Phil Hornby reports.

Eager shoppers queue for the opening of the Westgate Shopping Centre

It was feared the new development wouldn't open by the promised date Credit: ITV

Excited shoppers lined the streets of Oxford this morning, as the new multi-million pound Westgate Shopping Centre officially opened its doors.

The site which originally housed a shopping complex in 1970s, now boasts a new £440 million development.

Covering 800,000 square feet, the complex consists of restaurants, a cinema and around 100 stores.

Shoppers browse the new multi-million pound shopping centre Credit: ITV

Westgate Oxford Alliance estimated the centre would bring around 15 million visitors, and offer upwards of 3,500 full time jobs.

There were previous concerns about the vast mount of expected traffic to the area, and residents were encouraged to use public transport if possible.

After two decades, the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford has opened Credit: ITV

Rather than ribbon-cutting, visitors were entertained by the Alice in Wonderland themed key holding, in an opening ceremony attended by the Mayor and members of the local council.

Around half of all stores in the complex were trading today, with the remaining stores preparing to open for business in the run up to Christmas.

Hampshire County Council forced to save another £140m - some services will be cut

Hampshire County Council has an annual budget of almost £2 billion pounds. That money is spent on public services like education, roads, libraries, public health and waste disposal.

So far - since central Government's funding began to be cut in 2008 - the council has saved £340 million from its budget.

Council has to cut £140m of services Credit: HCC

Because of the rising cost of adult social care - like services for the elderly - it has increased council tax. Despite that, it says it faces a budget shortfall of £140 million.

Leader of HCC Roy Perry Credit: HCC

We have been reporting for some time now, the extent of the financial challenge that we continue to face. With our revenue support grant from Government soon coming to an end, together with rising inflation and significant increases in the numbers of elderly people, younger adults and children needing care - the pressures are mounting.

Members of the public, for good reasons, tend not to see the children in the care of the County Council, or those on the 'at risk register', but there is no doubt in my mind that they must be our highest priority to protect.

– Roy Perry

We are limited on the level by which we can increase council tax, and changes to the law would be needed to enable us to introduce or increase charges for some services - even though residents have indicated they would prefer to make contributions for some discretionary services rather than lose them.

The financial outlook remains extremely challenging. It's going to be very difficult indeed to achieve a further £140 million of savings, on top of the £340 million of spending reductions we have had to make since our funding from central Government began to reduce in 2008.

– Roy Perry

A final decision on where the cuts will be come wil be made by full council on November 2.

Businesswoman conned twice by same fraudster

A businesswoman from Kent has revealed how she was scammed out of more than £20,000 - shattering her plans to get married next year.

As part of her job she advises clients against internet fraud; but says she was taken in by convincing emails and phone security checks.

She wants to warn other bank customers just how easy it is to be duped.

This report from Iain McBride.

For advice on fraud prevention click this link.

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'Superman' inspired gym for disabled children turns to crowdfunding

Christopher Reeve was known to a generation as 'Superman' - starring in four films before a tragic riding accident left him paralysed in 1995.

But he went on with his wife to pioneer new treatments for serious spinal injuries - treatments now being used by a Paralympic athlete, among others, in Sussex.

The Neurokinex gym in Crawley is the first of its kind outside America and is now turning to crowdfunding to expand its work to help toddlers.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to David Smith, Jenny Suggit and Jamie Fielding.

An end to Monarch's 50 year history

Monarch is the biggest UK airline ever to go into administration bringing to an end a 50 year history.

It began in 1967 when the growth of package holidays to the Spanish Costa's saw the company take off.

As Chloe Keedy reports.

Chloe spoke to Andrew Angus, Economics lecturer.

EasyJet reaches out to Monarch employees

Credit: PA

EasyJet has reached out to Monarch employees, encouraging them to apply for jobs at the rival airline following the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

As part of the airline's latest and largest ever recruitment, there are still opportunities for 100 cabin crew in Luton, 400 in Gatwick as well as a number of direct entry Captains.

A number of roles are also being advertised at easyJet’s London Luton Airport headquarters.

Credit: PA

Many of us know people who worked for Monarch and so we are really pleased, as our recruitment drive is still open, to be able to offer opportunities to those affected."

"We will be holding recruitment days for Monarch Cabin Crew both in Luton and Gatwick this week with 500 positions still available. We know the Monarch crew will be a great addition to the easyJet team and look forward to meeting many of them this week."

– Tina Milton, Head of Cabin Services for easyJet

Chris Grayling: 'biggest repatriation operation'

  • Travellers are urged to visit the airline's website monarch.caa.co.uk at least 48 hours before returning home to confirm your new flight details

The effort to return 110,000 passengers to the UK will be the country's "biggest peacetime repatriation operation", the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

It comes after Monarch Airlines has ceased trading with immediate effect, meaning all flights and holidays have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will charter more than 30 planes to bring those whose flights have been cancelled home within the next fortnight, after the airline failed to renew a crucial licence.

£70m
Monarch's profit in 2015
£60m
Monarch's loss in 2017
£100m
Monarch's projected loss in 2018

Foreign Office staff will be at affected airports to assist vulnerable British travellers with specific needs.

Holidaymakers abroad do not need to cut short their stays to return home and will incur no extra costs over the changes.

We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees."

“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them."

“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task. The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home."

“We urge people affected by the company’s collapse to check our dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for advice and information on flights back to the UK. It also gives information to those passengers that have future bookings with Monarch but are yet to leave the UK.”

– Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA
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