Cameron: rural Tories should back planning changes

Reports that Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that 'countryside Tories should stop opposing the coalition's controversial planning reforms' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph says that
, "asked what he would say to Tory voters who will refuse to vote for the Conservatives because of their concerns over planning, Mr Cameron said: ‘I think that planning reform is important. It's important that we build more houses because the average age of the first-time buyer has crept into the 30s and I believe in a socially mobile opportunity society where people can achieve their dream of home ownership’". The newspaper says that Cameron’s remarks "will anger countryside campaigners, who say that the changes have led to unwanted development on some of Britain’s most precious rural landscapes".

The Guardian reports that more than £75 million has been cut from England's parks and open spaces budgets since 2010, according to a report from the think-tank Policy Exchange. "The cuts show a north-south divide, with spending reductions more than twice as great in the north and the Midlands than in the south", the newspaper says.

Chancellor George Osborne "is coming under mounting pressure to throw a lifeline to shops and businesses across Britain by announcing a freeze in business rates", the Telegraph reports. The newspaper says the tax, "which brings in £25 billion a year for the Treasury, is overtaking rents as the biggest cost faced by shops, according to senior figures in the retail industry". The newspaper calls on Osborne, "to announce in next month’s Autumn Statement a two-year freeze to business rates, bringing an end to more than two decades of inflation-linked increases, and allowing time to decide how to reform the tax".

The Guardian reports that research carried out by it has shown that "scrapping the government's commitment to key measures to bring energy efficiency improvements to homes would cost tens of thousands of future UK jobs". The newspaper says that if the energy companies obligation was scrapped, "at least 30,000 ‘blue collar’ jobs in installing insulation, new boilers and construction projects" would be at risk.

The Times (subscription) reports that the "tide has tuned for homeowners outside the South East, with demand for property in the North increasing fast and houses finally starting to sell again after the crash of 2008". The newspaper says that Liverpool has become the fastest place to sell a home and other cities in the North, such as Sheffield and Manchester are also showing signs of greater demand.

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