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USA UK and Malta News
29/02/2008 - 19:49

UK today Editoweb, 29 feb. 2008

Brown prepared to ban plastic bags - Blears backs more mayors - Lib Dems split over EU vote - Councils 'must open up to online scrutiny' - Energy firms 'should be' windfall taxed.

Blears backs more mayors
Attempts to make government more "visible" will be aided by the introduction of more mayors across the UK, the communities secretary has declared. Hazel Blears said that she is "increasingly convinced" that the proposal would be a vital tool in terms of letting the public "know who can make things happen".
At present there are 12 elected mayors in England, in: Bedford, Doncaster, Hackney, Hartlepool, Lewisham, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Newham, North Tyneside, Stoke-on-Trent, Torbay and Watford.

Brown prepared to ban plastic bags
Gordon Brown has given his strongest indication yet that he could outlaw free plastic bags.
Writing in a national newspaper, the prime minister urged all major retailers to do more to eliminate single-use plastic bags. In November, Mr Brown told supermarkets they needed to find ways of cutting plastic use, with the government and retailers agreeing a voluntary commitment to cut plastic bag use by 25 per cent.

Lib Dems split over EU vote
A senior Liberal Democrat has refused to back down after Nick Clegg threatened to sack any frontbencher voting in the EU Reform Treaty division. Ahead of next week's vote, the party's Scotland and Northern Ireland spokesman Alistair Carmichael told ePolitix.com that he hoped the party would "come through it as a fairly united force." It is the first serious challenge to the Lib Dem leader's authority since he replaced Sir Menzies Campbell in December.

Councils 'must open up to online scrutiny'
David Cameron has outlined plans to force councils to publish more information online. The Conservative leader said he wanted to give residents access to standardised information allowing them to easily judge their council's performance against neighbouring authorities. At present the information local authorities are required to publish about votes, services and meetings appear in a wide range of formats and outlets.

Energy firms 'should be' windfall taxed
Unions are calling on the government to use energy companies' windfall profits to counteract rising fuel costs for the poorest and pay for green home improvements. Energy industry regulator Ofgem has said that the EU emissions trading scheme will benefit UK electricity generators by £9bn to 2012. The TUC says that this is on top of a previous DTI estimate of £800m a year in extra profits to 2007 from the scheme's first phase.

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