Labour ‘will come to aid
of high street’

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A Labour government will give councils new powers to stop pay day lenders and betting shops swamping high streets, Ed Miliband will pledge today.

Businesses that do well out of hard times are springing up in place of shops, restaurants and banks but town halls are almost powerless to act, the party leader will warn.

He will set out Labour proposals to change planning laws so councils could refuse permission for certain businesses, including payday lenders that “engulf” people in debt.

At the start of a three day, 10 town tour to launch Labour’s local election campaign, Mr Miliband will say: “Currently if a bank branch closes down, there’s nothing a council can do if a payday loan shop wants to move in and open up in the same place. Even if there’s another lender next door. That can’t be right.”

The party plans to create an additional umbrella planning class that would let local authorities put some premises in a separate category. The move would allow councils to then block applications that meant a change of use for a property.