Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Social care costs
More than four out of five care home operators have put up prices for those who pay for their own care, because of council cuts, according to research by the Labour Party.
The Daily Telegraph says middle-class people are “being charged up to £12,000 a year extra to subsidise the cost of those who receive free care” while The Guardian says nine out of 10 providers believed pressure from low council fees would “polarise” the industry so that more care homes would be opened in wealthier areas of the country where pensioners would pay for their own care.
David Rogers (Lib Dem), chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, told The Guardian: “There isn’t enough money in the system and it needs urgent reform. Councils don’t want care homes to go out of business, they need places where older residents can be well cared for.”
Discussing the chancellor’s proposal to cut a further £10bn of welfare spending, Institute for Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that nearly all of the welfare cuts during the last two years had hit those of working age, with pensioners - including 500,000 in the higher wealth bracket - broadly protected. Centre for Social Justice managing director Christian Guy said provisions such as free bus passes needed to be up for consideration if savings needed to be made.
Meanwhile The Independent reports on Office for National Statistics figures which show British pensioners are among Europe’s poorest, with more than two million older people at risk of poverty. The paper says the UK is ranked fourth out of 27 European countries, behind only Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain.
An investigation has been launched after separate reports into two ‘inadequate’ London borough schools contained a number of identical phrases. The National Association of Head Teachers raised the alarm and accused Ofsted inspectors of “cutting and pasting” sentences from different reports, The Times report.
Further deaths cannot be ruled out after the number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Edinburgh rose by 10 to 61, The Independent reports. Cooling towers suspected to be the source of the outbreak have been chemically treated a second time.
The Bank of England’s monetary policy makers have decided against a further cut to the base interest rate and will not extend quantitative easing following better than expected growth in the services sector, reports The Financial Times.
Special advisors to ministers could come under greater scrutiny and be required to report to departmental permanent secretaries, The Times reports. The paper says the move by cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is in reaction to a number of incidents, including Eric Pickles’ special adviser’s open criticism of the head of the Electoral Commission last year and the more recent resignation of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s adviser over his dealings with News Corporation.