Government housing grants 'overwhelmingly benefiting south of England'

News that a report has found that areas in the south of England will receive almost 80 per cent of government housing grants features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that "Core Cities UK and the Key Cities Group, which represent 30 urban centres, found that five new government programmes would prioritise areas with the highest housing costs, which are almost all south of a line from the Wash in East Anglia to the Bristol Channel". The paper quotes Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, saying that the "skewed distribution of public money" was "unfair and unacceptable".

The Guardian reports that "tree planting must double by 2020 as part of radical changes to land use in the UK, according to the government’s advisers on climate change". The paper says that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) "said land currently used to produce food would need to be converted to woodland, growing crops to produce energy and for new homes to accommodate the growing population. Up to 17% of cropland and 30% of grassland could be converted, the report says".

The Times (subscription) reports that "a retirement town has become so overrun with coffee shops that local officials decided to leave a premises empty rather than allow another one". The paper says that "Christchurch in Dorset has 14 coffee shops on a 500 metre stretch of the High Street and near by — an average of one every 35 metres". The Times adds that "Christchurch council refused permission for the new coffee shop. Councillors said that while the vacant premises would have been put to use and created jobs, it would probably have caused cafés to close."

The Times also reports that "Europe’s biggest blanket bog is trying to be listed as a world heritage site. The Flow Country, 1,500 square miles of peatbog, lochs and bog pools across Caithness and Sutherland, is more than twice the size of Orkney". The paper says that "a working group has been set up with the aim of securing UK government approval for an application to Unesco for the designation".

A robot "took less than three days to build a home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms", The Times reports. The paper says that the feat, "thought to be a world first, could revolutionise the building industry". The robot, "Hadrian X, built the house in Western Australia, working day and night with little supervision. It laid the equivalent of up to 1,000 bricks an hour — about a day’s work for two bricklayers, who can take four to six weeks to build a small home", the paper says.

The Guardian reports that "four more House of Fraser department stores are to close down". The paper says the stores are in Nottingham, Norwich, Newcastle’s Metro Centre and the Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex.

The Telegraph reports that researchers have warned that "air pollution is stunting the growth of children’s lungs placing them at risk of lung disease, severe asthma attacks and early death". The paper says that "scientists from Queen Mary University of London, King’s College and the University of Edinburgh monitored more than 2,000 children from 28 primary schools in polluted areas of London. They found a relationship between pollution and lung capacity with children losing 2.5 ml for every one microgram/m3 of Nitrogen Dioxide in the air."

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