News round-up 13/6: Wealthy tenants to pay more, says Shapps
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
The Daily Telegraph reports that middle-income workers such as teachers and police officers “could be forced to pay full market rates for council houses” under government plans. Housing minister Grant Shapps will launch a consultation on plans to charge higher rents to tenants with a household income of more than £60,000, which would apply to 34,000 council houses, the paper says.
The Times reports that a parliamentary inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children has been announced after MPs on the home affairs select committee heard evidence of failings by police, prosecutors and care professionals in the grooming ring case in Greater Manchester. The case included one young girl in the care of Essex CC who was living in a private sector ‘solo’ care home in Rochdale.
The Guardian’s public services editor, David Brindle, writes in an opinion piece that the appointment of David Behan as chief executive of the Care Quality Commission has received a “muted reaction” from the NHS, in contrast to “the broad welcome from the social care world,” in which Mr Behan has a professional background. He says the CQC “has taken an enormous pasting, not always justifiably” and Mr Behan will have an “opportunity to change the terms of the game.”
Cars or lorries parked in cycle lanes will be forcibly removed by the police under plans being considered by the Department for Transport. The Times says the government already plans to introduce £130 fines for drivers parking in cycle lanes or blocking box junctions, while councils are pressing for powers to enable them to enforce penalties that at present can be imposed only by police.
An expert adviser has described education secretary Michael Gove’s proposed reforms of the national curriculum as “fatally flawed”, the Guardian writes.
Andrew Pollard, who sat on the panel of experts involved in drawing up the changes, said the reforms were so prescriptive that they denied teachers the scope to exercise their professional judgement.
The Daily Mail reports that the number of failing schools has risen by 50% under a “tough” inspection regime introduced in January. It says one secondary school in seven has been branded “inadequate” by Ofsted.
Public sector jobs
Tens of thousands more civil servants face losing their jobs under “sweeping reforms which will see the size of Whitehall slashed by a quarter,” the Daily Mail reports. It says “underperforming bureaucrats” will lose their jobs or be unreplaced when they retire, under plans to reduce the number of civil servants to about 380,000 by 2015.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, has “cast doubt on” proposals to introduce regional pay in the public sector. It says Mr Alexander encouraged trade unions to offer evidence in support of the current system, in a speech at the GMB union’s conference in Brighton.