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Osborne: Appoint Northern mayors 'to rival Boris'

George Osborne has said there is a 'strong case' for more elected mayors to drive growth and development in northern cities and rival London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Speaking on BBC radio 4's Today programme the Chancellor said: "I think there is a strong case for elected mayors in places like Greater Manchester to make sure they have the same powers, the same clout, as the mayor of London does in our capital.

"I think it helps to have a single individual who is, of course, democratically accountable, but also bringing together powers over planning, housing and transport."

He added he wanted to bring together cities like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Hull with new transport links.

Osborne: A closely linked North could 'take on world'

George Osborne will say a collection of northern cities linked closer together by new transport infrastructure could "take on the world" as he bids to end London's "unhealthy" economic dominance.

The Chancellor will say in a keynote speech in Manchester today:

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link.

Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds.

– Chancellor George Osborne

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Cable: Don't 'lecture' China on human rights

Vince Cable speaks to bankers and City bosses in the City of London Credit: Laura Dale/PA Wire

Vince Cable has said that Britain must recognise China's economic achievements instead of focusing on "lecturing" the country on its human rights record.

"As far as human rights is concerned I don't think we should be lecturing the Chinese, but it is right we have a proper dialogue with them about it," he told the CNN's The Business View.

"When I was in China I raised with senior party officials issues around trade union rights and strikes.

"But I think it's got to be done in a certain tone and I think must be accompanied by respect for what the Chinese have accomplished," he said.

Britain an 'old declining empire' says Chinese paper

The front page of the Global Times online edition. Credit: Global Times/screengrab

A Chinese newspaper has described Britain as an "old declining empire" in an editorial criticising UK press reports of the Chinese premier's visit to London.

The Global Times paper, run by the country's Communist regime, hit back at reports that China had demanded Prime Minister Li Keqiang was granted an audience with the Queen, which it cited as evidence of anti-Chinese prejudice.

"A rising country should understand the embarrassment of an old declining empire and at times the eccentric acts it takes to hide such embarrassment," the paper wrote in an editorial.

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China PM: Deal should be a 'win-win cooperation'

Li Keqiang said the China-UK partnership is a benefit for the whole world. Credit: ITV News

China's premier Li Keqiang has said the UK-China trade deals may mean a "win-win co-operation" that could benefit the "two peoples and the whole world."

Today's meeting at the UK-China financial forum comes after the signing of yesterdays trade deals, worth £14 billion.

In a speech on the final full day of his visit to the UK, Mr Li said that China and the UK should view each other's development as an opportunity for growth.

Osborne: 'Huge step forward' in UK-China trade deals

Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed a Pound-Yuan Interbank Market between the two countries, stating that it will help Britain build further links with China, by getting its "currency used and traded in London".

Mr Osborne said that both the UK and China have made "huge steps forward" in building progress, saying that the future belongs to those "ambitious for reform."

Osborne spoke of the importance of the UK-China relationships. Credit: ITV News

In a speech at Lancaster House in London, Mr Osborne said: "I believe the emergence of the Chinese currency as one of the world's leading currencies will be the next huge change in global finance.

"Quite bluntly, I want the City of London to facilitate that change and to be central to it," he said.

Osborne to hold trade talks with Chinese premier

The Chancellor George Osborne will hold trade talks with the Chinese premier Li Keqiang aimed at deepening Sino-UK trade ties.

Xu Shaoshi, with Business Secretary Vince Cable yesterday. Credit: Reuters

The meeting of the UK-China financial forum, on the final full day of Mr Li's visit to London, comes after the signing yesterday of trade deals between the two countries worth £14 billion.

Yesterday Mr Ling and his wife met with the Queen in Windsor Castle.

PM gives Downton Abbey script to China's premier

Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Michelle Dockery, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth MacGovern and Brendan Coyle 'Downton Abbey' photo call Credit: Tammie Arroyo/EMPICS Entertainment

David Cameron gave Chinese premier Li Keqiang a special memento of his trip to the UK - a copy of the shooting script for the first episode of Downton Abbey signed by the hit show's creator.

The period drama, which has been a big hit in China, was written by Julian Fellowes, who was made a Tory peer by Mr Cameron in 2010.

Mr Cameron also handed the premier a special £10 gold coin. The lunar coin was designed by artist Wuon-Gean Ho and celebrates the Chinese year of the horse. The final gift was a DVD box set of works by Charles Dickens.

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