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News round-up 25/3: Heseltine: Wealthy Britons lack will for economic growth

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Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government

Economy

British people may be so wealthy that they lack the “national will” to push for economic recovery, Conservative peer Lord Heseltine has suggested.

In an interview with the Independent, the former Cabinet Minister and Government Adviser stated that: “There is no God-given rule saying you’ve got to have a well-performing economy. It could be an indifferent economy. It’s a question of whether the national will is there; whether we want it. And the richer you get the less imperative there is.”

Meanwhile, UK applications for EU state aid approval have increased by half as ministers struggle to boost the flatlining economy, the Financial Times reports. 

Examples include the government’s broadband delivery projects, an application which was slow to be approved causing much frustration within local government, as reported by LGC.

 

Residency test for social housing

Councils will be forced to apply a local residency test so people must live in an area for five years before joining the waiting list for social housing, the Times has reported. The measure forms part of a crackdown on jobless Europeans benefitting from English public services.

 

Ex-Birmingham chief criticised

MPs say they have little faith in the former Birmingham City Council chief executive who now runs HM Revenue & Customs, the Times reports. A report by the Home Affairs Select Committee describes Lin Homer’s former leadership of the UK Border Agency as “catastrophic”, saying she repeatedly mislead MPs during a period in which the agency suffered numerous backlogs.

 

Transport

The contract for the West Coast Main Line franchise will be extended beyond the end of this year as Ministers seek to address chaos in the rail industry, reports the Financial Times.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is set to unveil a revised timetable for rail franchising on Tuesday, which will include an extension for the West Coast franchise contract, currently held by Virgin Trains, until beyond the next election in 2015. The Guardian reports that Ministers will also announce plans to return the East Coast Main Line to private ownership, more than three years after it was put into public ownership.

 

Planning

Reforms to the planning system over the last year have led to 250,000 homes being granted planning permission, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Citing figures that the number of homes being granted planning permission in England and Wales had jumped by a quarter, the paper claims that the number will only increase as the National Planning Policy Framework comes into effect this week.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Have no fear Mr Hesletine the Kamikaze economist, George Osborne, will ensure we Britons dont become too wealthy for growth!

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