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  1. National

Clegg to call for 'fairer Britain' with more devolution

The time has come to push for action on decentralisation in England, Nick Clegg is to say, as part of a new report calling for a new wave of "metro mayors" for city regions with greater powers to vary taxes to local councils.

In his speech, the Liberal Democrat leader will say:

You only need look at how the Scottish referendum debate has re-energised people's interest and engagement in politics over the last few weeks to see that this is an idea whose time has come.

Over the last decades, we've seen a wave of new powers shifting out to every nation of the UK, except England.

With a new consensus now emerging amongst the UK's three main political parties to extend devolution and decentralisation in the future, I believe we can push forward in realising our ambitions for a stronger, fairer Britain.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

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Morrisons profits take 51% dive

Profits at Morrisons have dived by more than half after the supermarket chain's sales were savaged in the industry's ongoing price war.

Morrisons profits take 51% dive Credit: Press Association

Like-for-like sales slumped by 7.4% in the half-year to August 3, while underlying profits dropped 51% to #181 million as the Bradford-based company committed more money to lowering its prices.

It is six months into a three-year turnaround plan involving an "enormous amount of change and modernisation" but said it was too early to see the impact of this work on sales.

Conditions are tough, and the industry is going through unprecedented change.

– Sir Ian Gibson, Chairman

Tesco and Morrisons have been the major casualties in the recent shake-up of the sector, with Tesco recently cutting its half-year dividend payment by 75% in order to preserve funds for new chief executive Dave Lewis. Morrisons said today that its financial position remained strong and that it would increase its interim dividend payment by 5%.

Although it is too early to see the benefits of the three-year plan in the sales line, Morrisons is getting back on the front foot, and implementing change and innovation at real pace throughout the business

– Dalton Philips, Morrisons Chief Executive
  1. National

First-half profits at Morrisons slump by 51%

Britain's fourth largest supermarket Morrisons has announced a 51 per cent slump in its first-half profits as it posted its lowest figures for eight years.

Morrisons trails Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's in annual sales. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Bradford-based group said it made an underlying pre-tax profit of £181 million in the six months to Aug. 3.

Turnover fell 4.9 per cent to £8.5 billion, while sales at stores - excluding fuel and VAT sales tax - fell 7.4 per cent.

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