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  1. Anglia

Three counties to bid for more power from Government

Northamptonshire. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council says forming a ground-breaking alliance with two other counties would bring billions of pounds worth of investment and create thousands of new jobs in the area.

Northamptonshire, along with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are going to put a joint devolution bid to the Government this summer.

Whilst keen to stress this would not merge the council councils, they would work together on key issues.

The county council says the alliance would ‘swell’ economic growth by a further £9 billion, creating at least 135,000 new jobs by 2020.

Jim Harker Credit: ITV News Anglia

"This area has an economy larger than that of Greater Manchester and we'd like similar devolved powers, over transport and strategic planning in particular.... As the name suggests, England's Economic Heartland is one of the powerhouses of the UK economy but we believe we can further build on our competitiveness in global markets with this innovative new model, and help ensure the UK is an even more prosperous major economy.

– Councillor Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council

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  1. National

Tax on supermarkets 'would hit the poor hardest'

An extra tax on big supermarkets would hit the poorest families hardest, the Government has said.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has rejected calls from 20 local authorities for a new levy on supermarkets to help revitalise local shopping areas.

The Government said an extra tax on supermarkets would hurt the poor. Credit: Sean Aidan/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

"Imposing new, additional taxes on supermarkets will push up the price of food and the cost of living, hitting low-income families the hardest," a DCLG spokesman said.

He said there were "much better ways to support small shops".

  1. National

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. 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.

£1.4 million of business broadband funding for Derby

Derby businesses could benefit from around £1.4 million of broadband funding Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/

Around 600 Derby small and medium businesses could benefit from around £1.4 million of Government funding from a new scheme being launched today. The announcement comes as Derby City Council is holding 'Small Business Saturday' in the city.

The scheme is part of Department for Culture, Media and Sport Superconnected Cities Programme and is designed to help local businesses to grow and develop.

Derby will be one of the 22 superconnected cities to be awarded the funding.

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  1. Mark Gough

Birmingham scientists' energy breakthrough - full report

Scientists have disovered how to make gold from rubbish - black gold - in other words - oil.

It sounds like the Holy Grail for the energy industry, but researchers at Aston Univeserity in Birmingham have figured out that if they burn rubbish and garden clippings in a pressure cooker - it turns into oil and gas.

They're heating their own building with it - now they want to help firms do the same thing and say large cities can become self-sufficient in generating their own power. Our business correspondent, Mark Gough reports.

Her own hair salon at just 21: the businesswoman determined to succeed

Setting up your own business in the current economic climate is never going to be easy, but one enterprising 21-year-old, has more obstacles than most to overcome.

Becki Stone from Leicestershire has Cystic Fibrosis. She has to take between 30 and 40 tablets a day and have regular physio to keep her lungs clear. But with a great deal of determination she's just fulfilled her lifelong ambition and opened her own hairdressing salon. Jane Hesketh reports.

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