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Big Society Network 'misused government funds'

The Big Society Network, launched as part of a flagship scheme by David Cameron in 2010, is reportedly being investigated over the misuse of government funds.

It is said the organisation was given at least £2.5 million of National Lottery funding and public-sector grants - but is now under scrutiny by the Charity Commission, reports the Independent.

There are also claims that government grant-awarding bodies were pressured into handing over cash to the organisation.

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."

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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.

David Cameron confuses Tyne and Tees in interview

David Cameron on the River Tyne in 2006.
David Cameron on the River Tyne in 2006. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

David Cameron appeared to get his regions confused today when he repeatedly referred to examples of economic prowess on Tyneside - despite speaking to BBC Tees.

Eventually presenter Lisa McCormick cut in: "You keep mentioning the River Tyne. That's not our region Prime Minister. I'm sorry, we are the River Tees."

Mr Cameron replied "I'm sorry, I thought I was doing...." before talking about £90 million of government investment in the Tees Valley - an amount brushed off by the presenter as a "drop in the ocean".

Miliband: 'I look like Wallace' but image isn't important

Labour leader Ed Miliband admitted to a likeness with "Wallace" from the popular "Wallace and Gromit" films, but he said that politics rather than his image was what was important to him.

Ed Miliband has admitted he looks a bit like Wallace.
Ed Miliband has admitted he looks a bit like Wallace. Credit: PA

In a wide ranging speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects he said: "I am not from central casting. You can find people who are more square-jawed, more chiselled, look less like Wallace. "You could probably even find people who look better eating a bacon sandwich."

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Eds and bacon: Miliband tucks into sandwich on a morning trip to buy flowers for his wife http://t.co/bqWmxvqTyg http://t.co/RaKQrgpvAb

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He added: "If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me. Because I don’t."

Praising David Cameron, he said the Prime Minister "is a very sophisticated and successful exponent of a politics driven by image."

But he said he was not going to compete with that and wanted to "offer something different."

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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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