Owners of second homes in rural beauty spots could face paying double the rate of council tax under Liberal Democrat plans to ensure local residents are not priced out of the property market.
Nick Clegg is in St Austell this morning launching his party's countryside charter, with plans to create 300,000 new jobs in rural areas.
He spoke to ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan:
Clegg told me people with second homes would only be too happy to 'chip in' to rural communities by paying more council tax #GE2015
A source said "we are not saying this will be imposed" but local authorities in areas including Cumbria, Cornwall and Devon have said they would be interested in higher council tax rates to "discourage" second home ownership.
Rural areas play a large part in Britain's economy with the rural economy worth £210 billion. The Liberal Democrats want to unlock this potential so rural areas and the rest of the UK can thrive.
In order to prosper, rural areas need good local services, appropriate infrastructure and more housing.
The Tonight programme investigates our housing shortage and asks what can be done to ensure we all have a place to call home.Read the full story ›
A seal colony in North Norfolk is seeing something of a baby boom after conservationists recorded a hundred-fold rise in pups.Read the full story ›
Police are investigating after an image of a fox's head impaled on a spike was posted on Facebook by a pro-hunting campaigner.
A man from the Hartlepool area reportedly posted the disturbing image, along with the message: "I keep my promises 1 ban = 1 fox."
"You have cost a fox that was not near a farm or any livestock its life," the man wrote, according to The Northern Echo. "Just for you. Any more bans and another fox dies."
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "Police have been made aware and are following up inquiries.
"Part of our enquires would be to liaise with the RSPCA. If there has been cruelty involved, it would fall under something we would investigate."
An RSPCA spokeswoman said that it was investigating the "distressing" image, which has since been deleted from Facebook.
The president of the National Farmers' Union has said that the price of milk has been devalued to the extent that it is now "cheaper than water".
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said:
This is only a symptom of what has happened in the milk industry over the last number of months ... There are very few dairy farmers making any money, most are haemorrhaging money at this present time, particularly those at 20p a litre ...
Dairy farming is seen as nearly iconic in the British countryside. We have lost 60 dairy producers in December alone ... We have halved the number of dairy farmers in the last 10 years.
Britain's largest dairy firm has delayed payments to farmers because of a slump in the global price of milk, its chairman has said.
First Milk, a co-operative owned by British farmers, said last year was a "year of volatility that has never been seen before" in the global dairy industry.
Its chairman, Conservative MP Sir Jim Paice, said it will delay today's payments to farmers by two weeks and all subsequent payments by a fortnight in order to put the business on a "stronger platform".
He added: "We are aware that hundreds of UK dairy farmers are unlikely to find a home for their milk this spring."
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Starlings swirled in their hundreds and thousands, producing displays near the English and Scottish border yesterday evening.Read the full story ›
The National Trust has bought over 200 acres of 'magical' heathland to help preserve the landscape that inspired author Thomas Hardy.Read the full story ›
The chair of the influential Public Accounts Committee has expressed "deep concern" at a report saying is not spending enough to maintain flood defences in some areas.
Responding to the report, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said:
I am deeply concerned that current levels of spending are not enough to maintain flood protection, with five million homes at risk of flooding and people's livelihoods in jeopardy.
It is alarming that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has cut spending on flood protection by 10% between 2011-12 and 2014-15 and it had to react with an emergency bailout of £270 million following the winter floods in 2013. Surely this short-term reactive approach is not value for money in the long-term.