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Heseltine confirms he is attending Thatcher's funeral

Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine in 1983. Credit: PA Archive

Lord Heseltine's office has confirmed to ITV News that he is attending Baroness Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday.

The former Labour leader Lord Kinnock is already attending the funeral of a councillor in his former Welsh constituency of Islwyn who was a close personal friend.

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Regions plan is 'challenge to councils to innovate'

Today's response reinforces the local approach the Government is taking to grow the economy. Jobs are created in offices, on high streets and in industrial parks around the country, not in Whitehall.

We are giving more power than ever before to Local Enterprise partnerships and councils to drive growth in ways that best suit their local economy, not through diktats from central government bureaucrats.

This is also a challenge to councils to innovate, to come together and pool resources and functions, to better deliver economic development across their area.

– Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Regions became 'powerless centres' under last Government

Lord Heseltine's report has set out "the best way" to boost regional growth, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is expected to say.

It's a big change from the hand-out attitude of the past that stifled innovation and turned the regions into powerless centres that relied on Whitehall for jobs and spending.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

LEPs will benefit from £500,000 over next two years

England's 39 business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will benefit from an immediate funding boost worth £500,000 over the next two years.

In 2015, the Government will create a single pot of money, which LEPs can bid from, and spend on projects of their choice.

Lord Heseltine during a presentation of the Greater Birmingham Project report yesterday Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The money will be taken from capital cash currently allocated to departmental budgets and European Union funding.

In return, the Government will make LEPs set out their long-term plans in Local Growth Deals.

The announcement today comes as the Government responds to Lord Heseltine's plea to devolve greater power to the UK's regions.

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Heseltine's regions plan gets Government backing

The Government has backed a plan to devolve greater power to the country's regions, in a bid to boost jobs.

Today the coalition will announce their support of the changes recommended by Tory peer Lord Heseltine, in his report No Stone Unturned, which was published last year.

Lord Heseltine during a presentation of the Greater Birmingham Project report at the Hyatt Regency, Birmingham Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

In the report, Lord Heseltine called for the Government to slash red tape and hand back decision-making powers to Britain's major cities.

He said local communities should have greater say over matters including transport, housing, and vocational training.

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Lord Heseltine: 'Reversing history to when great cities drove economy'

The Greater Birmingham Project Report was launched today, exploring ways of stimulating economic growth in the West Midlands.

The project, which is being piloted in the West Midlands, is being led by Lord Heseltine who will present the recommendations made in the report to the Prime Minister about ways the Government can help Birmingham to flourish.

The Chancellor George Osbourne is expected to comment on the suggestions in the report tomorrow.

Heseltine: EU referendum row an 'unnecessary gamble'

To commit to a referendum about a negotiation that hasn't begun, on a timescale you cannot predict, on an outcome that's unknown, where Britain's appeal as an inward investment market would be the centre of the debate, seems to me like an unnecessary gamble.

If I was responsible for inward investment into any of our European colleagues, it would give me the best argument I could dream of.

Why put your factory [in Britain] when you don't know - and they can't tell you - the terms upon which you will trade with us in future?

– Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine
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