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Deputy PM shows he's a good sport

Nick Clegg - taking on the best Credit: Calendar news

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg proved himself a good sport - by daring to take on world squash champion Nick Matthews from Sheffield.

Nick became world champion for the third time in November and tonight he launched a new scheme which he's hoping will deliver the squash stars of the future.

Mr Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, joined him at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash club - and bravely accepted his invitation for a knockaround.

Clegg stumbles over minimum wage

Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was in West Yorkshire today to deliver a multi-million pound boost to two local firms. More than 300 new jobs will be created thanks to cash from the Regional Growth Fund.

Packaging firm Really Useful Products in Normanton near Wakefield has been given £1million towards its expansion plans which will create 175 jobs.

And £2million has been given to Leeds bed maker Harrison Spinks which will help create 138 jobs, and protect 40 more, as it develops a new recyclable spring technology to replace foam in their beds.

Then Mr Clegg popped into the Calendar studio to answer viewers questions, but the Deputy Prime Minister appeared to be unsure exactly how much the National Minimum Wage is.

For those who do not know, it is £6.31 an hour for 21 year olds and over.


Nick Clegg's "Boxing Day" wish

Nick Clegg "wants boxing gloves" for Christmas

Nick Clegg has asked for boxing gloves for Christmas - but has declined to admit who he will imagine punching with them.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he used them at weekly kick-boxing sessions because it "gets stuff out of my system".

But the gloves supplied by his gym were "slightly smelly" so he hoped to get a Liberal Democrat-yellow pair as a present from his wife, Miriam.

Mr Clegg was talking on a festive version of his weekly Call Clegg phone-in on the radio - recorded at the Children's Hospital School, Great Ormond Street.

"This is so going to be misinterpreted - but I've actually asked for a pair of boxing gloves", he said. "Not to wear them in the House of Commons, although come to think about it, maybe I should. It's because once a week, I go to a gym and... I do these exercises.

"The boxing gloves in the gym are slightly smelly. So I thought I may as well just ask for my own boxing gloves and I'll take them to the gym. "It's just really good exercise. So I've asked Miriam for a pair of 12oz boxing gloves."

Cash boost for region's childcare

Yorkshire and the Humber has been given a boost of over £83 million to provide free childcare for two year olds, as wellas £12.6 million to help localschools provide universal free school meals to all infants Deputy PrimeMinister, Nick Clegg, has announced.

Councils will receive over £755 million of government funding to provide 15 hours a week of free childcare for 40% of two year olds from September next year.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, more than £83 million will be available to nearly double the number of children who will have access to high quality free childcare from more than 16,000 to nearly 32,000.

Clegg's bid to give families tax relief

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he wants to raise the threshold for the amount of money you earn before starting to pay tax.

The Sheffield MP says he'd like the coalition to raise it to above £10,500 by 2015, but has yet to agree it with Chancellor George Osborne. The move would effectively mean a hundred pound a year tax cut for 24 million people.

Town halls could have more control over welfare system

Town halls could be given a greater say over the way the welfare system works under plans being championed by Nick Clegg. The powers are already being used in cities including Leeds, but Mr Clegg indicated he wanted other cities to take responsibility for tackling unemployment.

Mr Clegg acknowledged he had to "bang heads together" in a Whitehall battle with Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions in order to give Leeds the freedom to tackle the problem of jobless youngsters.

"One of the most over-centralised systems of public policy ... is the way the welfare system is run. The DWP, much as I admire much of the work the department does and Iain Duncan Smith, it's very much built on that long-standing culture of the levers being pulled in London."

– Sheffield MP Nick Clegg

The cornerstone of the Leeds scheme is a commitment that every young person in the city region has access to a job, training, apprenticeship, volunteering or work experience.


Nick Clegg: Council "short-sighted" over Don Valley closure

Nick Clegg has criticised Sheffield Council's closure of the Don Valley stadium, calling it a "short-sighted" decision.

In a statement, the Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP said:

"I’m hugely disappointed that Labour councillors have decided Don Valley Stadium is not an asset of community value.

"This short-sighted decision has denied the Save Don Valley Stadium group access to central Government grants, which would have helped them develop a business plan and move closer to their vision of running the facility at no cost to the local taxpayer. "

Instead of working with the community to help protect local facilities we have a Council leadership determined to close services down because they think they can get away with blaming it on someone else.

– Nick Clegg MP, Lib Dem, Sheffield Hallam

Nick Clegg answers your questions

Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg, who is also the MP for Sheffield Hallam, today won his party's backing for the Government's controversial cost cutting plans and avoided what would have been a challenge to his authority.

But he has been challenged by Calendar viewers. He has been answering some of YOUR questions - sent in via our Facebook page and put to him by our political Correspondent Paul Brand.

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