Daily Archives: January 23, 2013

Jim Pickard

The blacklisting story, which emerged into the public eye in a slow trickle, is starting to turn into a torrent, with coverage in the last 24 hours on the Today programme, Channel 4 and The Times.

And this afternoon there was a decent turnout in the Commons as MPs debated the issue – and whether there is cause for a public investigation.

We wrote back in October that the UK building industry could face compensation claims running to hundreds of millions after a legal battle was launched by workers who say they were in effect barred from construction sites by a blacklist. 

Kiran Stacey

Two big questions remained after David Cameron’s landmark speech on Britain’s role in Europe this morning: would it do enough to please his eurosceptic backbenchers, and how would Ed Miliband respond?

We got the answer to both at PMQs. We know now that for the moment, Cameron has got his party off his back, and that Labour are not about to promise a referendum of their own.

The atmosphere in the Commons was electric as the leaders took their places. The Tory benches were packed with grinning faces – this looked like being a good day for Cameron, and so it proved. He even got a cheer for starting his first answer by saying: 

Jim Pickard

New freedoms for developers to turn office blocks into flats will expire in two years under a compromise after a long-running battle by Vince Cable against the proposals.

I revealed yesterday that the government was set to make it easier for companies to convert offices into residential without seeking planning permission.

But it turns out that the business secretary has also carved out other exemptions to the rules – which are likely to be announced later this week- so that they will not apply to shops, hotels or industrial parks.

Meanwhile any council will be free to appeal against conversions where they are able to make an “exceptional case” that the change would be bad for employment in their area.

Mr Cable had fought the proposals on the basis that they could damage employment while