News round-up 15/8: Labour MP backs pooled budgets
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Labour MP Stella Creasy, a rising star in the party, has suggested that Labour should go into the next general election promising to re-assess every single item of government spending in order to get more value from the state sector, reports the Guardian. In comments that will give hope to those in local government who want to see much more pooling of budgets between public services, Ms Creasy said that Labour should propose a “zero budget” spending review after the election in which every public service is re-examined. “We don’t need just to switch spending, we need to pool spending,” Ms Creasy is quoted as saying. “I think the biggest challenge for the left is not going to be money. I think it is going to be control, and being willing to devolve more power to the local level, but devolve again and argue: ‘If we are going to resolve this, you as a user need to have not just more say, but more responsibility’.”
Herefordshire Council has ruled out spending £95,000 on recruiting a new chief executive, the BBC reports. The sum was quoted by a recruitment firm to find an external replacement for current chief executive Chris Bull who leaves in October. Councillors have deferred a decision on replacing him until a cross-party group had been formed to look at alternative council structures, which could include abandoning the post completely.
The government has announced plans to tackle the “wall of silence” around the abuse and neglect of children accused of witchcraft, the Guardian reports. Following the brutal murder of Kristy Bamu, who was tortured to death in London by his sister and her partner because they believed he was a witch, the plan will see police and social workers given more training and urge communities and churches to work more closely together to prevent abuse. Children’s minister Tim Loughton said authorities had been “cowed by political correctness”.
Meanwhile, a serious case review has been launched into the death of 12-year-old Tia Sharp, whose body was found at her grandmother Christine Sharp’s home in Croydon last Friday. Ged Curran, chief executive of Merton LBC which covers Mitcham, where Tia lived, said the commissioning of such a review was “standard procedure” in a case such as this, the Guardian reports.
Commuters face paying at least £100 a week to travel by train after a higher than expected rise in inflation, which could see some season tickets rise by 11%, reports the BBC. The government is allowing fares to rise from 1 January next year by 3% above July’s rate of inflation. The rise will be greater than previously thought, as the Retail Price Index (RPI) rose to 3.2% from 2.8% in June.
Education secretary Michael Gove has relaxed government regulations on the minimum outdoor space schools should have to provide pupils for team games, the Guardian writes in its lead article. Campaigners fear the new rules, approved just after the end of the London Olympics, will threaten the ability of schools to provide sport for future generations.
The head of the Care Quality Commission, Dame Jo Williams, cast doubt on the mental stability of whistleblower and board member Kay Sheldon and commissioned a mental health assessment without her consent. The Independent reveals that Dame Williams used taxpayer’s money to commission an external mental health assessment from an occupational health doctor, who is not a psychiatrist and did not meet Ms Sheldon, before attempting to have her removed from the board of the watchdog.
A new metal marking system inspired by aerospace technology and part funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills could help police catch the thieves behind the increasing number of metal thefts, the Financial Times reports.
Ministers are to contribute to annual appraisals of permanent secretaries because of concerns that some civil servants are not taking ministers’ policies seriously, the Independent reports.