We need tougher planning laws to improve our town high streets

Bassetlaw MP John Mann
Bassetlaw MP John Mann

Since the controversy in Worksop over the opening of a shop selling so-called “legal highs” a number of people have contacted me regarding the need to toughen up planning laws for our high streets.

The Department for Local Government has now launched a consultation on future changes it would like to introduce to the planning process which would include closer regulation of pay-day loan stores.

I believe that it does make sense that a planning application should have to be submitted to turn a newsagents into a pay-day lending shop for example.

This would give local councils the power to prevent the high street from being overcrowded with these types of stores.

The consultation also asks whether there should be a broader definition of a “pay-day lending shop.”

In my opinion it covers a variety of areas from offering quick loans to offering cash for gold and other goods.

These changes should be introduced together with more power locally to stop “legal highs” shops.

The consultation will run until 26th September.

If you would like to take part please contact my office on 01909 506200.

It has recently come to light that UK Export Finance, an arm of the British Government established in 1919, has used taxpayers’ money to underwrite £140 million of deals for a company registered in the Cayman Islands.

The company in question is owned by Terra Firma, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

I have raised this issue in Parliament and have yet to receive any answers as to why this company has received tax payer backing when it does not pay tax in the UK.

The Cayman Islands is a notorious tax haven that is home to thousands of companies who trade around the world but refuse to pay their fair share of tax.

I have worked closely with the all-party group on anti-corruption to highlight how these large multinational companies are exploiting tax loopholes in order to avoid paying their fair share of tax and will continue to campaign for stricter regulation.

One of the responses to the UK banking crash in 2008 was a Government-launched inquiry into how we prevent our banks from becoming “too big to fail”.

In the resulting report it was recommended that UK banks must separate their retail – everyday banking to customers like us – from their investment sector, meaning casino-style banking.

I support this measure as it would force banks to act in a more responsible manner.

HSBC, however, has written to the Chancellor asking him to delay this change which is due to be in place by 2019.

The big banks are complaining about the cost of changing the way they operate with no regard to the cost to the taxpayer from bailing them out.

My view is simple: Press ahead with the ring fencing and get banks to start acting in a responsible manner.