News round-up 11/9: Pressure on exam regulator
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Hundreds of students failed their GCSE English after their grades were lowered at the last minute, writes the Times Education Supplement. The paper says that a fortnight before the results were due to be published, Ofqual, the exam regulator, forced exam board Edexcel to make it harder for candidates to achieve a grade C. Ofqual’s chief executive, Glenys Stacey, who has been summoned to give evidence before the Commons education committee today, is now facing calls to resign.
Business Secretary Vince Cable will today set out a new strategy that will attempt to unblock credit flows to support expanding sectors such as green energy, higher education and the digital economy, reports the Financial Times. The paper says that “challenger banks” such as the Co-operative could play a key role in the government’s industry strategy, as ministers try to get credit flowing to small businesses.
Elsewhere, the Times says that Dr Cable’s plans are part of a week of coalition announcements about deregulation, innovation and investment designed to “revitalise” the flagging economy.
Public sector pay
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls will be challenged by union leaders at the TUC conference today over his tacit support for the coalition’s pay freeze, the Times reports. With the trade unions pledging to hold co-ordinated strike action in the spring unless local government staff, health service workers and others receive pay increases, Mark Serwotka, leader of the 250,000 civil servants in the Public and Commercial Services Union told the conference that Mr Balls needed to be told his support for the public sector pay freeze was “shameful”.
The Electoral Commission is set to launch a £3.6m advertising campaign next month in an attempt to promote police and crime commissioner elections, the Times reports. The commission will spend £1.5m on distributing a booklet about PCCs to 21m households in England and Wales. Commission chair Jenny Watson said the campaign would make sure people had the information necessary to be able to vote. “But people don’t vote because they know how to, they vote because they care about what’s at stake,” she said. “So it’s now down to the candidates to give people a reason to vote.”
Transport expert and commentator Christian Wolmar launches his bid for the Labour nomination for the London mayoralty in a column in the Times today. He claims he can provide the “visionary thinking” required to make London’s transport fit for the 21st century. Central to his vision would be targets to reduce the number of cars coming into central London.