News round-up 30/8: Councillors call for regional investment
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Councillors and council leaders from the Midlands, as well as MPs, MEPs and business representatives have urged the government to expand Birmingham’s airport. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph the 75 signatories said: A “hub airport” in the South East favours a small, congested and already economically strong part of the country. We need gateways close to the manufacturing, research and development centres of the Midlands and the North, linking these regions directly to emerging markets.”
The Independent reports that austerity in the UK, and the coming US presidential election, have hit profits at outsourcing specialist Serco.
It said that delays to government spending have hit the flow of public-sector work in the UK, which represents around half group profit, contributing to a 17% fall in half-year profits to £102.1m. Chief executive, Christopher Hyman, said: “We see conditions in the UK starting to improve.”
The numbers of civil servants will rise again, unless government departments overhaul their working practices, according to a committee of MPs, writes the Times.
A critical report from the Commons public accounts committee says that departments do not have any long term plans to operate with lower members of staff, and consequently numbers would be likely to rise again.
A care home assistant has been sent to prison for “unforgivable and unacceptable” neglect and ill-treatment of an 89-year-old woman, the Guardian reports. The abuse was uncovered only after the pensioner’s worried family recorded the abuse on a concealed camera, the paper said.
Chancellor George Osborne has dismissed suggestions of a 0.5% tax on the assets of the wealthy, modelled on the French system and suggested by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the Guardian reports. Meanwhile, the Independent reports that a study has shown that half the population think politicians “don’t get” the financial pressures of ordinary people.