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South West 'needs fair share of investment'

Above, The Great South West document being unveiled today. Below, Devon County Council leader John Hart

The Government's being urged to do more to support the South West.

A 'Great South West Document'  is being unveiled in Parliament today as part of a new campaign calling on Boris Johnson's Government to invest in the region as part of his 'levelling up' policy for the UK.

The document suggests the region has suffered from decades of under-investment by successive Governments and 'that needs to change'.

It highlights concerns over the A303 upgrade and delays to a decision on the A30 between Honiton and Ilminster.

The report also calls for better rail links, following the collapse of the line in Dawlish in 2014 and support for Hinkley C.

John Hart, leader of Devon County Council, is among those backing the campaign.

He said: "The South West needs more attention from the Government as it's been forgotten by Government for a very long time we need attention, we need infrastructure we need speed of connectivity and we lack that down in the South West.

"We've got together a group of people and councils in order to remind the government that we are a very important player in the running of this country.

"We have unfortunately not got good connectivity, for example we have trains to Exeter but they're not so good after that because of Dawlish.

"We have aircraft (Flybe) at the moment, but there's a bit of uncertainty.

"On the roads, there's been this huge bottleneck at Stonehenge.

"After that we have two or three other different short stretches that need to be dualled.

"We, as a local authority,  put together a plan to put a decent road from Honiton to Ilminster over the Blackdown Hills -  we have one third of that ready to run we need government funding.

"There is a need also to finish-off broadband because people don't necessarily have to travel today in a way they're used to for their work -  but they do need connectivity.

"We have a new government with a new mandate who is talking about equalising up the value of the regions - and on that basis we have an opportunity to make a serious case."

"Major local councils in the southwest spent six point four billion pounds per year keeping people employed, it's our turnover of money that creates jobs and also looks after people."

Click play to hear Councillor Hart speaking to reporter Andrew Kay

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