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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.

New planning system 'puts local people in control'

Last year saw a 23% rise in applications for major housing projects, the Planning Minister has said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Brandon Lewis argues that 'Nimbyism' - where people oppose construction in their area - was on the decline.

He said the fact 216,000 new homes had received planning permission in 2013 showed the success of the Government's planning reforms.

"The new planning system puts local people in control, so if they want to build more homes, they will," he says.

Read: Support for new homes increasing 'dramatically'

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Support for new homes increasing 'dramatically'

Support for new building new homes is increasing as a result of government planning reforms, a minister has claimed.

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The new planning minister has hailed government reforms for changing attitudes towards house-building. Credit: PA Wire

Planning minister Brandon Lewis said there is "a changing mind-set" when it comes to major housing schemes, hinting that the "Not In My Backyard" attitude (NIMBY) has changed.

Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Lewis said reforms giving local people control over their own local areas has increased support for housebuilding "dramatically".

The minister said support for new homes has risen from 28% in 2010 to 47% last year.

Clegg: Lib Dems were vital to economic recovery

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the economic recovery "wouldn't have happened" without the Liberal Democrats being part of the government.

Speaking to ITV News' political correspondent Carl Dinnen, the Liberal Democrat leader said: "You can't create an economic recovery without having a stable government.

"The Conservatives wouldn't have been able to do it without the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats wouldn't have been able to do it without the Conservatives."

69% of Brits don't feel better off in growing economy

Two thirds of British adults say that despite the economy growing they don’t feel better off, an Comres poll exclusive for ITV News has found.

While George Osborne has hailed GDP's return to pre-crisis figures as a "milestone", 69% of people interviewed said they do not feel wealthier - while one in four (24%) said they currently spend more than they earn each month.

The Comres results suggest a majority of Britons are not feeling the financial benefit of a growing economy.
The Comres results suggest a majority of Britons are not feeling the financial benefit of a growing economy. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Although only 35% of Britons said their personal finances are getting worse (the joint lowest since 2010), only 14% said they are getting better. Instead, most said they are about the same (52%).

A majority of the 2,035 Britons interviewed (55%) also agreed the improving economy is only benefitting the rich, while three in five (62%) think the gap between rich and poor has got worse over the past three months.

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Chancellor: Recovery under way but not complete

Chancellor George Osborne said GDP figures on growth show that his economic recovery plan is working, but not complete and that he wanted people from all parts of the country to feel the impact of the recovery.

Speaking to Economics Editor Joel Hills from Newcastle he blamed the previous government for the three year delay in a return to growth figures, saying it takes time to work through problems caused when governments "get economic policy wrong".

Read: Labour says growth figures do not show economy is 'fixed'

Labour: No time for complacent claims economy is fixed

Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls said today's GDP figures are no time for "complacent" claims that the economy is fixed, as the majority of people were not feeling the recovery due to wage stagnation, a lack of housebuilding and a lack of business investment.

Labour's Ed Balls
Labour's Ed Balls. Credit: PA

At long last our economy is back to the size it was before the global banking crisis – three years after the US reached the same point.

But with GDP per head not set to recover for three more years and most people still seeing their living standards squeezed this is no time for complacent claims that the economy is fixed.

Wages after inflation are down over £1,600 a year since 2010, housebuilding under this government is at its lowest level since the 1920s and business investment is lagging behind our competitors.

– Ed Balls, Labour's Shadow Chancellor

Read: George Osborne: GDP figures a major milestone

Nick Clegg: Growth figures show 'rescue has worked'

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg hailed the GDP growth figures as proof the "rescue" has worked.

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The rescue has worked. Our economy is now larger than it was before the crash. There would be no recovery without @libdems #StrongerEconomy

The Chancellor George Osborne said the figures were a "major milestone".

Read: George Osborne: GDP figures a 'major milestone'

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