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Miliband attacks Sports Direct over zero-hours contracts

Ed Miliband will single out high-street chain Sports Direct for criticism over its use of zero-hours contracts in a speech today.

Sports Direct has said it will change its working practices. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Labour leader will accuse a number of firms of using "Victorian practices" in using such terms, which see employees given no guaranteed hours and those at the top can escape taxation.

Speaking in Coventry, Miliband will describe Sports Direct as an example of a firm where the "vast majority" of employees are on zero-hours - calling it a "bad place to work" for many staff.

The retail giant agreed last month to make "major changes" for staff after legal action brought by a former employee.

Sports Direct did not comment on Mr Miliband's attack, but repeated an earlier statement on its plans to make changes.

A spokesman said: "The company will continue the process of reviewing, updating and improving our core employment documents and procedures across our entire business beyond its existing compliant framework."

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Mayor of London visiting Northampton University

The Mayor of London will be swapping the capital for Northamptonshire today.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson taking part in a boxing session earlier this week Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Boris Johnson is visiting Northampton University to see how undergraduates are learning about the town's shoe industry.

He is also going to Corby with Northampton North MP Michael Ellis to discuss transport issues.

Next year will see 'deepest cuts' to Walsall budget

The leader of Walsall Council has warned that next year's budget cuts of £29.2 million will be the harshest over the coming few years.

A further £57m will then have to be slashed from future budgets as part of a four-year savings plan ending in 2019.

Walsall Council leader Sean Coughlan has warned next year will see the 'deepest' cuts Credit: Walsall Labour party

Council leader, Councillor Sean Coughlan, said:

As I've said before, next year will see the deepest of cuts over our four year budget plan.

Faced with £47 million funding reductions from central government and the limitation on council tax increases, our hands are tied and it hasn't been easy.

But our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable people and to do what we can to continue making Walsall a good place to live.

– Councillor Sean Coughlan, Walsall Council leader

What's under threat at Walsall Council?

As council chiefs in Walsall prepare to make more than £86 million of cuts over the next five years, a draft budget has been drawn up.

They include proposals to make savings in the following areas, among others:

  • 487 council jobs to be axed
  • Eight libraries to close
  • 12 Children's Centres to be shut
  • Walsall Museum to close
  • Bin collections to go from weekly to fortnightly
  • Charges introduced for green waste collections
  • £2 million to be saved from the youth services budget

The council also plans to review the council tax reduction scheme and the discounts on offer to residents, in the hope of saving an extra £3m.

Consultation over £86m of council cuts begins in Walsall

A public consultation over £86 million of budget cuts at Walsall Council will begin today.

Walsall Museum is under threat as part of the plans Credit: Google Maps

The cuts, of which £29m will have to be slashed next year, includes hundreds of job losses and the closure of Walsall Museum.

The consultation will give people the chance to have their say on where the axe should fall in the next five years.

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HS2 chief searches for new East Midlands station

New efforts are being made to find an alternative location for the HS2 hub in the East Midlands, after bosses decided current plans did not fit well with existing rail links in the region.

Possible locations for the new site Credit: ITV News Central

Toton in Nottinghamshire was initially named as a potential site for the station.

But in a report out today HS2 chairman, Sir David Higgins, has recommended that alternative sites should be investigated to fit in with existing rail and road connections between Nottingham and Derby.

He said it is likely that the new station will be located west of Toton - with Breaston rumoured to be a strong possibility.

Youth services 'help to rebuild lives' says Birmingham MP

Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington in Birmingham, has told ITV News Central that youth services help to rebuild lives and build up people's confidence.

He was speaking at a rally in Victoria Square today, which was supporting local youth clubs and youth services across the West Midlands.

Choose Youth rally takes place in Birmingham

Rally took place in Victoria Square, Birmingham. Credit: ITV News Central

A rally in support of youth clubs and services across the region took place today in Victoria Square, Birmingham.

Hundreds of youth clubs across the region have closed over the past few years due to budget cuts which have hit local authorities.

Today the rally organised by Choose Youth, aimed to show how youth clubs and services can make a positive impact on young peoples' lives.

Long-serving Midlands MP to stand down

Black Country MP Sir Richard Shepherd is to stand down Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

One of the West Midlands’ longest-serving MPs is to stand down after 35 years in Parliament.

Black Country MP Sir Richard Shepherd has written to the chairman of his constituency party to say he will not stand again at next year’s general election.

The Tory, who has represented Aldridge-Brownhills since 1979, is 71. He was knighted in 2003.

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