Letters: The limits of lobbying in parliament

Recent stories of parliamentarians apparently agreeing to be paid by journalists posing as lobbyists raise difficult questions about our political system (Ministers race to change rules as lobbying scandals hit home, 3 June). They follow a depressingly familiar pattern of people at the end of their political careers appearing to tout themselves as – to […]
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Women’s Institute votes to launch a campaign to rescue local shops

Call to action over disappearing high streets is carried at annual meeting despite criticism of ‘vague’ wording The Women’s Institute yesterday voted to make retail regeneration its next major campaigning issue to end the “crisis” of the continuing decline of the UK’s high streets. More than 4.000 members representing the 212,000 strong national membership agreed […]
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Turf wars escalate in the battle for Britain’s allotments

For the past century, councils have prided themselves on giving people small patches of land to cultivate. But now, with money and land in short supply, many want to take them awayIt’s a long way from Potenza in southern Italy to the west side of Watford. Vincenzo Santarsiero, 78, made the journey in 1970, and began working […]
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What type of place do EDL members come from?

A document which lists purported donors to the English Defence League has been published online. We combined this data with demographic and socio-economic statistics to find the characteristics of the places where EDL members liveIn the wake of the Woolwich attack, the English Defence League has barged its way back into the headlines by way […]
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Heathrow to name noisy airlines

Britain’s biggest airport to introduce noise-ranking system in effort to stem sound pollutionBritain’s biggest airport is to rank airlines according to how noisy their aircraft are as part of plans for a quieter Heathrow. It also plans to significantly increase fines for airlines that break noise limits and to trial new plane departure routes with […]
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Welfare reform: council safeguards against negative health impacts

To improve health and wellbeing amid changes to benefits, Kingston council is holding workshops to give residents adviceThe economic downturn and changes to the benefit system will leave some families under a great deal of stress, and affect people’s general wellbeing and health in a number of ways. Local government must ask how it can […]
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Jimmy Wray obituary

Scottish Labour MP who fought off Militant Tendency in its bid to take hold of the Glasgow Provan constituencyJimmy Wray, who has died at 78, emerged from the colourful tapestry of Glasgow politics to become a Labour MP between 1987 and 2005. A man of the left, Wray was also a lifelong entrepreneur and close […]
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McDonald’s ‘Italianised’ menu: the future of fast food?

As we discovered last week in Italy, the company likes to to localise its menu. Can global chains ‘do’ regional specialities?Local, regional and artisan: these words have all become a part of our modern culinary vocabulary. They are choices that are made for a number of reasons – belief in authenticity, and the feelgood factor […]
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Finding an appropriate and affordable premises for your business

There are good options for small businesses looking to grow, such as official enterprise zones, explains Rob PurdieOne of the major issues for growing businesses can be finding the right accommodation. As a business grows, space can become inefficient. However, the move to bigger premises can be costly and daunting, particularly if time and money […]
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