News round-up 10/8: Pickles seeks to boost development
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The Daily Telegraph reports that ministers are to help developers build 200,000 new homes which have been placed on hold, in a bid to stimulate the economy. Communities secretary Eric Pickles is to send troubleshooters into 13 local authorities to help negotiate the resumption of large housing developments, the paper says. Many developments have been given planning permission only on condition that they provide amenities for the community. But such deals are no longer viable because house prices have fallen, Mr Pickles believes. The brokers he is sending will renegotiate them to take account of the deteriorating economic climate. With the government seeking measures that can be enacted in an economic growth bill, the paper claims that the move is a bid get developments moving without the need for further deregulation of the planning system. The 13 councils are not named.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has ordered his senior ministers to create a list of economic reforms as he attempts to fill the void left by the collapse of the House of Lords Reform Bill, writes the Times. The ministers will examine how better to get credit moving to businesses and how to ensure there is sufficient demand on the economy, the paper says. A team consisting of business secretary Vince Cable, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and energy secretary Ed Davey will also include Mr Alexander’s predecessor David Laws who will be given a wide-ranging policy brief akin to that held by Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin.
Police and crime commissioners
The Guardian reports that magistrates will not be allowed to stand as elected police commissioner candidates. It says the disclosure has “thrown into fresh disarray” the plans for the new posts, because a fifth of Conservative candidates so far are magistrates, as are others who are standing as independents or for other parties. The newspaper also reports that new guidance is also believed to ban councillors who are also magistrates from serving on police and crime panels, which are being introduced to scrutinise elected police commissioners.
David Sims, leader of the Conservative group on Corby BC, has warned David Cameron against imposing an ‘A-list’ candidate on the marginal seat to be vacated by MP Louise Mensch, the Times reports. Mr Sims said the candidate “should be a local person”. “I live in Corby – I have lived in the borough my whole life,” Mr Sims said. “I think I would certainly get some people to vote for me who would not normally vote.”
Sports associations are being warned that they could face funding cuts if they fail to guarantee that women are represented on their boards, says the Financial Times. UK Sport – the government sports agency responsible for distributing funding to athletes – says it will have a “no compromise approach” to improving corporate governance in the build-up to the next 2016 Olympic Games.
Later, the paper adds that London Mayor Boris Johnson has “clashed” with prime minister David Cameron over the compulsory teaching of sports in schools. Yesterday, Mr Johnson called for pupils to take part in two hours of mandatory sport a day, “undermining” Mr Cameron who this week defended the coalition’s decision to axe government targets for sports.