News round-up 9/10: IMF revises down forecasts
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The government has no intention of relaxing its austerity programme prime minister David Cameron affirmed today, writes the Guardian. This remark comes in spite of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reducing its annual growth forecasts and warning the UK would miss its deficit reduction targets for the year.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Mr Cameron said: “These are difficult times for the economy and what the IMF report is doing is coming into line with other forecasters who have already said that growth is going to disappoint right across Europe this year. We know that.”
Conservative MP Ben Gummer has said that many local councils are “self-governing oligarchies of mediocre people”, the BBC reports. Ipswich MP Mr Gummer told the 2020 group of Tory MPs that councillors solely representing local businesses should be eligible for election. He said the City of London Corporation could be a model. “The calibre of many councillors often leaves something to be desired,” he said. “Most of them can’t read a balance sheet. Business councillors could release aspiration.”
Former housing and local government minister Grant Shapps has attempted to end controversy over his business affairs by taking down a number of websites on which he had used the name ‘Michael Green’, the Guardian reports. The websites offered users the chance to make $20,000 (£12,500) in 20 days “or your money back” and details of phone lines offering expert internet marketing advice for $297 an hour. The removal of the sites came after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
London mayor Boris Johnson has shored up his position as the strongest potential successor to David Cameron by calling for a revival in grammar schools, reports the Guardian. Speaking at a rally at the Conservative Party conference, the London Mayor said he believed that academic selection was right for children at some point in their education.
The Guardian reports that free schools have found themselves in dispute with local authorities over planning. It said that government ministers are increasingly willing to intervene to force councils to approve premises that planners believe are unsuitable.
Provision for school staff rooms, kitchens, canteens and lockers have been cut from the school building regulations by ministers in an attempt to reduce red tape, the Daily Telegraph reports. Anne Bull, national chair designate of the Local Authority Caterers Association told the paper that not having kitchen and dining facilities clearly specified within the new school premises regulations “shows a worrying contradiction” to anti-obesity policies.
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