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Councils call for levy on big supermarkets

A coalition of 20 councils is calling for a new levy on big supermarkets to pay for improvements in local shopping areas.

The local authorities say the tax could raise money to help revitalise town centres.

Councils claim big supermarkets are squeezing the life out of local areas.
Councils claim big supermarkets are squeezing the life out of local areas. Credit: PA Images

The leader of Derby City Council, which is leading the group, said that life was being "sucked out of the city centre" by big out-of-town stores.

Ranjit Banwait told Radio 4's Today programme the move was a response to "the worst cuts in history" to council funding.

A similar levy is in place in Northern Ireland, while in Scotland health services for smoking and drinking-related disease are partly funded by sellers of tobacco and alcohol.

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Train staff to strike over 'paltry' pay offer

East Midlands Trains staff are to strike for four days in a dispute over pay.

Engineering and maintenance staff in Leeds, as well as Derby and Nottingham, will strike from 6am on Sunday 27 July to 5.59am on Thursday 31 July.

Workers' union Unite asked for an improvement on what they describe as a 'paltry' 2.75 percent pay rise for the year April 2014 to April 2015. That offer has now been withdrawn by East Midlands Train bosses, according to the union.

The strike coincides with the "big get away" weekend as schools across the country stop for summer and many families rely on public transport to go on holiday.

Our members have worked hard for this company adapting to the many changes asked of them. However, they were very disappointed with the current paltry pay offer, now withdrawn, at a time when household bills are going through the roof. The management has not applied equal treatment to this group of workers as other groups of employees have received greater improvements to their terms and conditions. The timing of this dispute was set by the employer’s failure to recognise Unite members’ legitimate grievances.

– Mick Millichamp, Unite regional officer

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Businesses to get more compensation for tram works

These are the new style trams being testing on Line One, before the extensions open in early 2015
These are the new style trams being testing on Line One, before the extensions open in early 2015 Credit: PA

Nottinghamshire County Council have agreed to increase their contribution to the Special Hardship Fund set up to help traders affected by the tram works.

The council's increasing the package they offer to £50,000. Businesses along the extended routes through Beeston and Clifton say they've struggled to cope during the construction of the new tram lines.

How some businesses have been affected along the route in Beeston
How some businesses have been affected along the route in Beeston Credit: ITV News Central

Airbus to fly over Rolls Royce in Derby to thank staff

The Airbus A350 will fly over Rolls Royce in Derby later today
The Airbus A350 will fly over Rolls Royce in Derby later today Credit: PA

Airbus will fly its new aircraft over Rolls Royce in Derby today as a 'thank you' to employees who designed, developed and assembled the Trent XWB engines.

More than fourteen hundred of the engines have already been sold.

The Airbus A350 will be flying directly from the Farnborough International Air Show later this afternoon.

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Unipart Automotive not in administration

Unipart Automotive has today denied it's going into administration. A spokesman for the company said: "we have no intention of doing so."

They made the statement after filing a notice of intent to appoint KPMG as administrators.

The move can give firms some protection in law during difficult trading conditions.

Unipart Automotive is based in Solihull and has 170 branches around the country selling spare parts for cars. It employs 1600 people.

A spokesman for the company said they had turned the business around and were within touching distance of going into profit. Under the previous owners, he said, the business had been loss making.

He said the firm is talking to three investors about putting more cash into the business

£100's millions to secure growth in the Midlands

Money will also be invested in transport projects

Birmingham received major government backing today - and money - to become a world centre for drug testing and medical research.

The government has given the Local Enterprise Partnership £10 million to build a new medical centre to bring pharmaceutical firms to the city.

The centre would be near to the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Birmingham University which is building a Life Sciences centre to conduct medical research.

The city and the region has been chosen because of its large, ethnically diverse population, which enables drug companies to test new treatments on many different races at the same time.

The money is part of more than £400 million which has been given to create jobs in Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country and Coventry. LEPs in Nottinghamshire, Derbsyhire and Leicester also received money.

Leicestershire was given £76 million to improve roads, build a new skills training centre and improve flood defences and broadband.

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire received £591 million to improve skills training in Nottingham, expand the bioscience centre in the city and to build houses and community and health centres in Hucknall.

Argos workers go on strike in weekend hours row

Argos warehouse workers in Lutterworth are going on strike for 24 hours today Credit: PA

More than three hundred warehouse staff have gone on strike at the Argos distribution centre in Lutterworth.

The 24-hour strike by Unite union members started at 6am, in a dispute over contract changes which will mean increased weekend working.

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