Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Education secretary Michael Gove has ordered deputy children’s commissioner for England, Sue Berelowitz, to produce recommendations on how to protect girls in residential care, the Times writes. New safeguards were needed after nine members of a sex-grooming network were convicted of having preyed on girls in residential care, Mr Gove said.
Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph reports that reform of elderly care funding has been postponed, having not been mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. Charities, council leaders, pensioners’ groups and care home operators have attacked the coalition government for not addressing the issue.
Speaking on the Today Programme, managing director of the Centre for Social Justice Christian Guy said that there was a rapidly aging population in the United Kingdom and the government had an opportunity to do something about the future of social care. Mr Guy said that the system of social care was “broken” and fixing the means-tested system needed to be prioritised. The integration of health and social care had to be the legacy of the coalition government explained Mr Guy, who said that a review of investment in social care was required. Chief executive of the English Community Care Association Martin Green agreed that the system of social care was broken and urgent action was required. Mr Green felt that the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission should be used as the starting point and hoped that the government’s white paper dealt with the present crisis in social care as well as the future needs.
Hundreds of thousands of public sector employees will protest against the government’s austerity measures today, the Guardian reports. It says police, lecturers and border control staff will be amongst those joining the protest in London.
Business leaders are dismayed by the lack of help for the economy in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, the Daily Telegraph leads.
Similarly, the Times reports that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also signalled its disappointment. Government promises to cut red tape were “light on detail”, with the Institute of Directors (IoD) calling for “drastic measures”, rather than just “tweaking of the edges”, the Times continues.
Labour sources have revealed opposition plans to vote with Tory rebels to reject a timetable for legislation on Lords reform, the Guardian writes. Shadow constitution minister Wayne David said that although Labour was in favour of Lords reform, the government had not set out a stable, long-term plan for the two houses, and that a reform of such magnitude should be put to a referendum.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times writes that a political row looms over the coalition on the Bill, with Labour MPs insisting that responsibility for killing the Bill will lie with Conservative MPs.
A report by consultants Deloitte and the thinktank Reform claimed the government could save £18bn by using private sector techniques in fraud prevention and cash management, the Times reports. The government should also cut spending on health and welfare and examine further asset sales.
The Guardian reports that Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, will say in a speech today that the government’s public spending cuts risk creating a “forgotten Britain” where the plight of “whole swaths of society is getting worse but is invisible to the rest of us.” The newspaper reports that Sir Stephen will say charities are concerned that “public attitudes are hardening, with greater suspicion of those who rely on publicly funded support.”
Responding to the Times’ story earlier in the week that councils were paying for members, officers and residents to attend the Olympics, Ealing councillor Daniel Crawford writes a letter claiming the council will be sending a number of looked-after children to the games as well as the council’s mayor.
The Telegraph reports that a government adviser has said last year’s riots were a “taste of Britain to come” because politicians are failing to deal with the causes of the violence. It says Simon Marcus, a charity boss appointed to look into the causes of the riots, has said local authorities, central government and the police are “in denial” about the gang culture behind the unrest.