News round-up 10/10: Fresh trade union clamp-down
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Trade union officials
Eric Pickles has said he wants councils to start charging trade unions to use council payrolls to check off union subscriptions, the Guardian reports. The paper reports that Mr Pickles told a fringe meeting of the Conservative party conference it could be a “nice little earner” for councils. He also said the Department for Communities & Local Government would offer advice to councils on the maximum amount of time they should give union officials to work on union duties.
High Speed 2
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that the government will defy opposition from its own backbenchers and fast-track plans for the new HS2 rail network, writes today’s Independent. Mr McLoughlin denied suggestions that the West Coast Mainline fiasco has undermined HS2 and indicated that there would be no significant compromises on the published HS2 Birmingham to London route, despite opposition from Conservative MPs whose constituencies line the route, the paper says.
Care for the Elderly has risen to the top of voters’ concerns, reports the Telegraph. A poll carried out by ICM on behalf of Age UK found that one in four adults listed the issue as one of the three most important issues that would influence how they voted. The issue fell behind only the economy and the NHS. Age UK director general Michelle Mitchell told the paper “Social care has for years been the Cinderella of political priorities, hidden away and ignored”. She added that the polling showed a sizable group wanted the issue to be placed higher on the government’s agenda.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson has announced plans to axe wind farm subsidies, the Telegraph reports. He has claimed that wind farms could have a worse impact than climate change, commenting that “there are significant impacts on the rural economy and rural environment, all of which probably weren’t intended when these things were thought up”. Meanwhile, Mr Paterson has described shale gas as a “god-given” windfall that could help Britain solve its energy problems, the paper continues. The news comes after seven energy companies threatened to leave Britain over fears they would not receive enough Government support to invest in low-carbon energy, such as wind-farms and nuclear power.
The chief executive of refuse collection contractor May Gurney Integrated Services has left after two council contracts turned out to be loss-making, the Times £ reports. It said Philip Fellows-Prynne had promoted the idea of multi-compartmentalised vehicles capable of carrying all refuse and recyclable items. But contracts with Bristol City Council and with Cheshire West & Chester Council had such adverse terms that the company had to issue a profits warning last month. Three other director have also quit, the paper said.
The right-to-buy means that the wife of Abu Hamza, extradited to the USA on terrorism charges - could buy the £1m council home she lives in, the Daily Mail reports. It said Najat Mostafa, had lived in the property for more than 15 years bringing up the couple’s seven children. Hammersmith & Fulham LBC housing officers had asked her to move to a small home but have no power to evict her as there is no time limit on her tenancy. She could benefit from a maximum £75,000 off any purchase.
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